Richard Cobden

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Richard Cobden
BirthplaceDunford, Sussex
Known for Member of the Anti-Corn Law League and peace campaigner

Cobden, Richard

(kŏb`dən), 1804–65, British politician, a leading spokesman for the Manchester schoolManchester school,
group of English political economists of the 19th cent., so called because they met at Manchester. Their most outstanding leaders were Richard Cobden and John Bright.
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. 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 LeagueAnti-Corn-Law League,
organization formed in 1839 to work for the repeal of the English corn laws. It was an affiliation of groups in various cities and districts with headquarters at Manchester and was an outgrowth of the smaller Manchester Anti-Corn-Law Association.
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. Campaigning both inside and outside Parliament (to which he was elected in 1841), he finally won over Sir Robert PeelPeel, Sir Robert,
1788–1850, British statesman. The son of a rich cotton manufacturer, whose baronetcy he inherited in 1830, Peel entered Parliament as a Tory in 1809.
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, and the corn laws were repealed in 1846.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 BrightBright, John,
1811–89, British statesman and orator. He was the son of a Quaker cotton manufacturer in Lancashire. A founder (1839) of the Anti-Corn Law League, he rose to prominence on the strength of his formidable oratory against the corn laws.
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, 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).

Cobden, Richard


Born June 3, 1804, in Dunford Farm, near Midhurst, Sussex; died Apr. 2, 1865, in London. British political leader, ideologist of the industrial bourgeoisie, and leader of the free traders; a factory owner.

Cobden was one of the leaders of the Anti-Corn Law League (founded in 1838). From 1841 to 1857 and from 1859 to 1865 he was a member of the House of Commons. He struggled to abolish privileges of the landed aristocracy; he defended the system of unlimited competition, thus ensuring the dominance of the industrial bourgeoisie within the country and the winning of foreign markets. He was an opponent of factory legislation and trade unions. In the context of Great Britain’s worldwide industrial and trade monopoly, Cobden advocated, in a pacifist vein, arms reductions and international arbitration; he sharply criticized Palmerston’s foreign policy. He helped organize a series of world peace congresses (1848–51).


In Russian translation:
Liga i bor’ba protiv khlebnykh zakonov: Rechi v parlamente i na mitingakh. Moscow, 1899.


Marx, K., and F. Engels. Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 15. (See index of names.)