The Letters of Richard Cobden: Volume I: 1815-1847
The first of four volumes, this book provides a unique insight into the career of one of Britain's leading nineteenth-century politicians. Richard Cobden (1804-1865) moved rapidly from business success in Manchester into the worlds of local, national and international politics, providing a case study in social mobility in the Industrial Revolution. He travelled extensively, visiting the United States, the Near East, and the continent writing influential pamphlets, before undertaking the campaign against the British Corn Laws for which he remains best known. Drawing on material from Britain, Europe, and the United States, the letters are accompanied by notes and an introduction by Anthony Howe, explaining the unusual history of the letters and re-assessing Cobden's importance in their light. But the letters reveal not only Cobden the anti-corn law crusader, but provide us with a greater understanding of wider aspects of middle class politics and culture in their formative period in Britain and Europe. Together, these four volumes provide a unique source on British liberalism in its European and international contexts, throwing new light on issues such as the repeal of the Corn Laws, the British radical movements, the Crimean War, the Indian Mutiny, and the American Civil War.
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