Richard Cobden was much involved in politics. In Great Britain, after Napoleonic wars, Corn Laws were passed. In Cobden's opinion the policy implemented in these famous bills was very questionable. Indeed, Frédéric Bastiat's close friend devoted his entire life to free trade and pacifism. First of all I will focus on describing the British society and the economic context. Then I will present Richard Cobden and the Anti-Corn Laws League.
[...] Even when faced with an economic disaster of such magnitude, the aristocracy had no desire to opt for a different policy. The economic situation, and especially inflation, was indeed beneficial to them: there were more farmers than plots, soils the dividends of rents were flourishing. While protectionism became widespread and British economy was declining, in 1838, the Anti-Corn Laws League emerged. II) Richard Cobden and the Anti-Corn Law League Cobden's life Richard Cobden was born on 1804 and died on 1865. His parents had eleven children and he spent his early life in extreme poverty. [...]
[...] Cobden also advocated a policy of free trade, low taxation, reduced military spending and an improvement in the system of education. In 1837 Richard Cobden became a member of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce and joined in the agitation that resulted in Manchester achieving a democratically elected local council. In 1838 Cobden was one if the first men to be elected as a Manchester alderman. The following year Cobden and the Manchester Anti-Corn Law Association presented a petition to Parliament. [...]
[...] In 1841 General Election the leader of the Anti-Corn Law League, Richard Cobden became the MP for Stockport. Although Cobden continued to tour the country making speeches against the Corn Laws, he was now in a position to constantly remind the British government that reform was needed. Cobden was now able to organize a national campaign in favour of reform. Cobden recruited a number of talented speakers to the movement. The economic depression of 1840-1842 increased membership of the Anti- Corn Law League and Richard Cobden and John Bright spoke to very large audiences all over the country. [...]
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