Today, the influence of economic thought on educational theory is evident. It seems to weaken, however, the further we travel back in history. In this article, Tal Gilead examines the historical origins of this influence. He shows that it first emerged in French educational thought during the second half of the eighteenth century. Through analyzing a number of books on educational theory from this period, Gilead demonstrates the educational impact of two innovative economic ideas: first, the idea that wealth stems from the product of the land, and, second, the idea that the wealth of the nation is positively correlated with that of the individuals composing it. Gilead argues that these economic ideas contributed to the emergence and spread of progressive notions regarding the scope, nature, and aims of educational provision. He especially stresses the role that these economic ideas played in transforming contemporary attitudes toward the education of the poor.