19th century English Member of Parliament
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  • John Bright

    John Bright (16 November 1811 - 27 March 1889) was a British Radical and Liberal statesman, one of the greatest orators of his generation and a promoter of free trade policies.


    Bright, John (1811-1859), by Aaron Steelman, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
    Biographical essay
    "John Bright was a British radical, statesman, and advocate of free trade. With Richard Cobden, Bright successfully agitated for the repeal of Great Britain's Corn Laws, which were import tariffs on grain. Bright also was a proponent of a peaceful, noninterventionist foreign policy, arguing, for instance, against British involvement in the Crimean War, a position that briefly cost him his seat in Parliament. In addition, Bright argued passionately against the Established Church and slavery, as well as for greater independence for Britain's colonies."
    Related Topics: Richard Cobden, Free Trade


    John Bright: Voice of Victorian Liberalism, by Nicholas Elliott, The Freeman, Aug 1988
    "Bright is most famous for his part in the successful campaign for the repeal of the corn laws. ... For Bright, Cobden, and other leaders of the 'Manchester School,' free trade was inseparable from a pacific foreign policy. ... They rejected the argument that foreign alliances were needed to enforce a 'balance of power' in Europe ..."
    Non-Marxist Theories of Imperialism, by Alan Fairgate, Feb 1976
    Examines writings of critics of imperialism that are not based on Marxist analysis
    "The insights of Adam Smith were later amplified by the two leading representatives of the Manchester School, Richard Cobden and John Bright, who vigorously campaigned on behalf of a strict noninterventionist foreign policy for England. While most people are probably aware that Cobden and Bright led the struggle to repeal the Corn Laws—as oppressive interference with free trade—relatively few are aware of their extensive involvement in the peace movement in England or, in particular, their outspoken opposition to England's involvement in the Crimean War."
    The Greatness of Peace Activist John Bright, by Sheldon Richman, 24 May 2013
    Commentary on John Bright's opposition to war and interventionism. with relevant excerpts to several of his speeches
    "... one of the world's great peace activists, John Bright (1811–1889). Bright, a Quaker and Nonconformist, is best known for leading (with Richard Cobden) Britain's Anti-Corn Law League ... Bright passionately opposed war — however popular — whenever it threatened to rear its ugly head. Free trade (free markets generally) and peace were not separate matters for Bright. On the contrary, they were (in Cobden's phrase) 'one and the same cause.'"


    On the English Foreign Policy, 29 Oct 1858
    Speech given to the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce; criticises British militarism and imperialism, pointing out the effects of several 19th century wars on national debt, poverty and families
    "Since the 'Glorious Revolution,' since the enthronization of the great Norman territorial families, they have spent in wars, and we have worked for, about £2,000,000,000. ... Therefore, if war has provided you with a trade, it has been at an enormous cost; but I think it is by no means doubtful that your trade would have been no less in amount and no less profitable, had peace and justice been inscribed on your flag instead of conquest and the love of military renown."

    Books Authored

    Speeches on Questions of Public Policy by Richard Cobden. M. P. - in Two Volumes, by John Bright (editor), Richard Cobden, 14 Apr 1870
    Electronic text available at Online Library of Liberty; contents: Volume I: Free Trade and Finance - Volume II: War, Peace, and Reform

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