intervention to a greater extent than Cobden cared to admit. The cotton industry had developed within a system of protection against Asian textiles, and its markets in Asia were secured by Britain's ability to shape trade policy in India. Cobden supported free trade as a means towards international peace and understanding, as the benefits of comparative advantage increased prosperity; it would, he hoped, lead to a reduction in expenditure on the armed forces. However, British hegemony in trade and the liberal economy of the nineteenth century were political creations as a result of investment in war and empire in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Free trade was, at least in part, the result of the success of the 'fiscal-military state'.