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A Revisionist Adam Smith

Turn to Glory Liu’s incisive study of Adam Smith to vaccinate yourself against the bacilli of bad history lessons coming your way in 2026.


Adam Smith’s America: How a Scottish Philosopher Became an Icon of American Capitalism, by Glory Liu, Princeton University Press, 384 pages.

Start preparing now for the United States’s 250th birthday party in 2026. If you remember our Bicentennial, when the Concorde made its first commercial flight and the Starland Vocal Band’s “Afternoon Delight” topped Casey Kasem’s charts, then you probably also remember CBS’s Bicentennial Minutes. Each night at 9 p.m., fading stars like Jessica Tandy and Darren McGavin regaled captive viewers with triumphalist stories about the Revolutionary Era. In the platitudinous final episode, President Ford urged us all to “keep the Spirit of ’76 alive.”


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