‘Providence and political economy’: Josiah Tucker’s providential argument for tree trade

Price, Peter Xavier (2016) ‘Providence and political economy’: Josiah Tucker’s providential argument for tree trade. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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Abstract

Josiah Tucker, who was the Anglican Dean of Gloucester from 1758 until his death in 1799, is best known as a political pamphleteer, controversialist and political economist. Regularly called upon by Britain’s leading statesmen, and most significantly the Younger Pitt, to advise them on the best course of British economic development, in a large variety of writings he speculated on the consequences of North American independence for the global economy and for international relations; upon the complicated relations between small and large states; and on the related issue of whether low wage costs in poor countries might always erode the competitive advantage of richer nations, thereby establishing perpetual cycles of rise and decline. As a vehement critic of war in all its forms, Tucker was a staunch opponent of Britain’s mercantile system – a pejorative term connoting, amongst other things, the aggressive control of global trade for the benefit of the mother country so as to encourage imperial expansion throughout known parts of the world. Though recognising Tucker to be a pioneer of the anti-mercantilist free trade school, extant Tucker scholarship has tended to concentrate on the perceived similarities and dissimilarities between he and the classical economists, particularly Adam Smith. Yet whilst acknowledging the veracity of these various connections and claims, this thesis approaches Tucker from an alternative perspective. Placing Tucker in his proper historical context, the main purpose of this study is to explore the intellectual, political and theo-philosophical background to Tucker’s economic thought. Its most original and profound contribution consisting in a detailed and critical analysis of Tucker’s links with his ecclesiastical mentor Bishop Joseph Butler, its central concern is to argue the case for Butler’s crucial influence over Tucker’s free trade ideas – particularly in the guise of the neo-Stoic, Anglican providentialism that buttressed much of Butler’s own theories in the field of meta-ethics and moral philosophy.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of History, Art History and Philosophy > History
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CT Biography > CT3200 Biography. By subject > CT3990 Academicians. Scholars.Savants
D History General and Old World > DA History of Great Britain > DA020 England > DA129 By period > DA300 Modern, 1485- > DA505 George III, 1760-1820
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 23 Sep 2016 12:09
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2016 12:09
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/63565

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