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Manchester school,group of English political economists of the 19th cent., so called because they met at Manchester. Their most outstanding leaders were Richard CobdenCobden, Richard
, 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.
..... Click the link for more information. and 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.
..... Click the link for more information. . Their chief tenet was that the state should interfere as little as possible in economic matters (see laissez-fairelaissez-faire
[Fr.,=leave alone], in economics and politics, doctrine that an economic system functions best when there is no interference by government. It is based on the belief that the natural economic order tends, when undisturbed by artificial stimulus or regulation, to
..... Click the link for more information. ), and they advocated free tradefree trade,
in modern usage, trade or commerce carried on without such restrictions as import duties, export bounties, domestic production subsidies, trade quotas, or import licenses.
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See F. W. Hirst, ed., Free Trade and other Fundamental Doctrines of the Manchester School (1903, repr. 1968); W. D. Grampp, The Manchester School of Economics (1960).