Richard Cobden

Richard Cobden (kŏb´dən), 1804–65, British politician, a leading spokesman for the Manchester school. He made a fortune as a calico printer in Manchester. A firm believer in free trade, after 1838 he devoted himself to the formation and work of the Anti-Corn-Law League. Campaigning both inside and outside Parliament (to which he was elected in 1841), he finally won over Sir Robert Peel, and the corn laws were repealed in 1846. After 1849, Cobden concerned himself chiefly with foreign policy, advocating nonintervention in Europe and an end to imperial expansion. He became unpopular for his opposition to the Crimean War (1854–56) and lost his parliamentary seat in 1857. Reelected in 1859, he negotiated (1859–60) the "Cobden Treaty" for reciprocal tariffs with France. Like his close associate John Bright, he favored the North in the Civil War in the United States (which he had twice visited). His many speeches, letters, and pamphlets have been published.

See biography by W. Hinde (1987); study by D. Read (1967).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Richard Cobden: the International Man
J. A. Hobson; Neville Masterman.
Benn, 1968 (New edition)
FREE! Richard Cobden, the Apostle of Free Trade: His Political Career and Public Services, a Biography
John McGilchrist.
Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1865
FREE! Cobden and Modern Political Opinion: Essays on Certain Political Topics
James E. Thorold Rogers.
MacMillan, 1873
The Great Victorians
Hugh Massingham.
I. Nicholson & Watson, Ltd., 1932
Librarian’s tip: Richard Cobden, 1804-1865 begins on p. 121
The Age of Improvement
Asa Briggs.
Longmans, Green, 1959
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Richard Cobden begins on p. 312
The Decline of British Radicalism, 1847-1860
Miles Taylor.
Clarendon Press, 1995
Librarian’s tip: Includes discussion of Richard Cobden in multiple chapters
English Radicalism
S. MacCoby.
Allen & Unwin, 1935
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Richard Cobden begins on p. 254
The Origins of War Prevention: The British Peace Movement and International Relations, 1730-1854
Martin Ceadel.
Oxford University, 1996
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 10 "The Richard Cobden Era: Pacificist Permeation, October 1848-September 1851"
Free Trade and Liberal England, 1846-1946
Anthony Howe.
Clarendon Press, 1997
Librarian’s tip: Includes discussion of Richard Cobden in multiple chapters
Beacon of Freedom: The Impact of American Democracy upon Great Britain, 1830-1870
G. D. Lillibridge.
University of Pennsylvania Press, 1954
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Richard Cobden begins on p. 95
Morality and the Market in Victorian Britain
G. R. Searle.
Clarendon Press, 1998
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Richard Cobden begins on p. 199
The Liberal Tradition: From Fox to Keynes
Alan Bullock; Maurice Shock.
New York University Press, 1957
Librarian’s tip: Part III "The Age of Cobden and Bright"
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