Was it Marx who dismissed the British as "a nation of shopkeepers"?Go further back..Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, 1775: "To found a great empire for the sole purpose of raising up a people of customers, may at first sight appear a project fit only for a nation of shopkeepers. It is, however, a project altogether unfit for a nation of shopkeepers; but extremely fit for a nation that is governed by shopkeepers."And, attributed to Samuel Adams, "American Independence," 1 August 1776, Speech delivered at the State House in Philadelphia: "Men who content themselves with the semblance of truth, and a display of words, talk much of our obligations to Great Britain for protection. Had she a single eye to our advantage? A nation of shopkeepers are very seldom so disinterested. Let us not be so amused with words; the extension of her commerce was her object."Napoleon I, who was familiar with Adam Smith's writings, is reported as later using a French version disparagingly about England's preparedness for war against France: "L'Angleterre est une nation de boutiquiers."Earlier than the above, the following has been attributed to Josiah Tucker, the Dean of Gloucester, in 1766: "And what is true of a shopkeeper is true of a shopkeeping nation."
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