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, and the corn laws were repealed in 1846.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.)
References in periodicals archive ?
This is a pity as Lord Melbourne and Sir Robert Peel (other than in the context of policing) deserve discussion, as do Richard Cobden, John Bright and the Anti-Corn Law League, which would also provide a link with agricultural and landed issues.
Although the ideas in The Political Writings of Richard Cobden (1903) are a century and a half old, Cobden considered many arguments for military intervention still made today.
Seizing this political opening, a pair of textile manufacturers, Richard Cobden and John Bright, led their country to bolder action, organizing the Manchester-based Anti-Corn Law League into a national mass movement of middle-class urban interests against the landed elite.
Ceri Price, acting head of Richard Cobden Primary in Camden, North London, described Lee as "outstanding".
John Stuart Mill was a mentor, and Adam Smith and Richard Cobden were guiding spirits.
The more determined Radicals, Richard Cobden being first among them, could see no alternative but to avoid all party affiliations and, in Cobdens case, to reject Cabinet positions that might carry the stain of official corruption.
The papers were later submitted to the opinions of a group of social commentators, administrators and practitioners, mostly British but including two Americans, at a meeting at Dunford House, one-time home of Richard Cobden, in April 1993.
Richard Cobden, who co-founded the Anti-Corn Law League and went to Bowes School, is also a North East great, as well as British Prime Harold Minister MacMillan, who was MP for Stockton-upon-Tees.
In 1881 he produced a two-volume biography of Richard Cobden and in 1889 a shorter work on Sir Robert Walpole.
Indeed his devoted friend and colleague, Richard Cobden, in their successful campaign for the Repeal of the Corn Laws a decade before wrote, contrasting Manchester with Birmingham, that "the honest and independent course taken by the people at Birmingham, their exemption from aristocratic snobbery and their fair appreciation of a democratic son of the people confirm me in the opinion I have always had that the social and political state of that town is far more healthy than that of Manchester .
Northern Rock, the flourishing Newcastle-based bank, could owe its roots to two of the greatest 19th Century reformers, Richard Cobden and John Bright of the Anti-Corn Law League.