David Ricardo (Dictionary of World Biography: The 19th Century)
Article abstract: Ricardo was the most influential of the early nineteenth century thinkers who formalized the growing science of economics. His impact on economics continues today, and Ricardo has been acknowledged as the father of political economy.
David Ricardo’s Jewish-Spanish ancestors had migrated to Italy and then to Holland prior to 1700. His father, Abraham Israel Ricardo, left Holland in his early twenties to visit England, where he remained. He became a citizen, married Abigail Delvalle, from a well-to-do Jewish merchant family, and established himself as a successful merchant-banker with a broker’s license. The family was important in the London Jewish community. David was the third child, and third son, of fifteen children.
Groomed to enter the family business, David received practical schooling in England and then was sent to Holland to continue his education in a commercial school under the care of an uncle. After two years in Holland he returned to England for a final year of schooling, after which he entered his father’s business, at the age of fourteen.
Ricardo soon became involved in high-level financing of bills of exchange and public securities, quickly becoming a respected participant in the world of finance. His ability, however, led to conflict with his father over the latter’s role as chief of the family. When Ricardo reached the age of twenty-one, he...
(The entire section is 1927 words.)
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