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In his later life, he took a tutoring position that allowed him to travel throughout Europe, where he met other intellectual leaders of his day. The Wealth of Nations was a precursor to the modern academic discipline of economics.
In this and other works, he developed the concept of division of labour, and expounded upon how rational self-interest and competition can lead to economic prosperity. Smith was controversial in his own day and his general approach and writing style were often satirised by Tory writers in the moralising tradition of William Hogarth and Jonathan Swift.
In Smith was the graduate scholar presented to undertake postgraduate studies at Balliol College, Oxford, under the Snell Exhibition. Smith obtained a professorship at Glasgow teaching moral philosophy, and during this time he wrote and published The Theory of Moral Sentiments.
He was a moral philosopher, a pioneer of political economy, and was a key figure during the Scottish Enlightenment era. Smith laid the foundations of classical free market economic theory.
The latter, usually abbreviated as The Wealth of Nations, is considered his magnum opus and the first modern work of economics.