Edward Gibbon Wakefield

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Wakefield, Edward Gibbon


Born Mar. 20, 1796, in London; died May 16, 1862, in Wellington, New Zealand. British economist and political figure.

Wakefield, a prominent representative of English classical political economy, was the author of a commentary on A. Smith’s An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. In his A Letter from Sydney (1829) and England and America (1833), Wakefield proposed a plan for systematic colonization, suggesting that the sale price of land in the colonies be raised and that other measures be taken that would encourage the emigration of hired workers from Great Britain. Wakefield also believed that this emigration of workers would lessen the danger of social outbreaks in the mother country. K. Marx considered the plan to be an attempt at “primitive accumulation” in the colonies. Wakefield was one of the authors of the Durham Report (1839) regarding the situation in Canada after the uprising of 1837–38. He made a fortune speculating in land in Australia and New Zealand. Wakefield promoted the annexation of New Zealand, and after settling in the colony in 1852 he played an active part in its political life.


Facts Relating to the Punishment of Death in the Metropolis. London, 1831.
A View of the Art of Colonization. New York, 1969.


Marx, K., and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 23; vol. 25, part 2; vol. 26, parts 1–3; vol. 46, parts 1–2; vol. 47. (See Index of Names.)
Erofeev, N. A. “‘Sistematicheskaia kolonizatsiia’: Iz istorii angliiskoi kolonial’noi politiki XIX v.” In Imperializm i bor’ba rabochego klassa. Moscow, 1960.
Bloomfield, P. E. G. Wakefield, Builder of the British Commonwealth. London, 1961.
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