Scottish professor of moral philosophy Adam Smith was already widely known for his ideas of free markets, laissez-faire commerce, and "invisible hand" when he published his The Wealth of Nations in 1776, the year the American Revolution began. Yet English politicians, landed gentry, and the nobility paid little attention and enacted none of Smith's suggested reforms. The American colonies, however, began their existence as an independent nation in 1781 with no money, no industry, no banks, and deep in debt. So the Founding Fathers—particularly Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and Benjamin Franklin—turned to the ideas of Adam Smith to create and jump-start an economic system for America with both immediate and long-sustained results. This study traces the history of the American economy from its locus—as John Steele Gordon calls it, "the greatest of all economic books."