Widely acclaimed as the father of economics and author of the Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith was a professor by trade– a professor of moral philosophy. It is enlightening to note the pay structure of professors at smaller universities, such as the University of Glasgow, where Smith attended and then taught. There, the professors only received a small base salary from the university, but then would receive most of their income from the honoraria that the students would pay to take their course. This was in contrast to larger institutions like the University of Oxford, where Smith also studied, which supplied the entire large salary, regardless of how many students attended the lectures. Smith would later comment that he much preferred the incentives created by the University of Glasgow, as it made the professors much better teachers and the students therefore learned much more in the courses.
This edition compiles his most famous lectures in 1763 regarding the topic of jurisprudence. The word jurisprudence itself adds insight to the matter of his massive work, coming from the Latin word jurisprudentia, signifying jur (law) +prudentia (knowledge). In these lectures, Smith explicates the “four great objects of the law,” which are, “justice, police, revenue, and arms.” Given his well-rounded background in moral philosophy and economics, Smith handles these topics with diligence and sincerity as he teaches his class.