Free Trade and Liberal England, 1846-1946
The argument about the limits of Free Trade or Protectionism rages throughout the world to this day. Following the Repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846, free trade became one of the most distinctive defining features of the British state, and of British economic, social, and political life. Whilethe United States, much of the British Empire, and the leading European Powers turned towards protectionism before 1914, Britain alone held to a policy which had seemingly guaranteed power and prosperity. This book seeks to explain the political history of this tenacious loyalty. While the TariffReform opponents of free trade have been much studied, this is the first substantial account, based on a wide range of printed and archival sources, which explains the primacy of free trade in nineteenth- and early-twentieth century Britain. It also shows that by the centenary of the Repeal of theCorn Laws in 1946, although British free traders lamented the death of Liberal England, they heralded, under American leadership, the rebirth of the liberal international order.
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