Richard Cobden and the Quakers: a study of mid-nineteenth century liberalism

Haight, Austin (2021) Richard Cobden and the Quakers: a study of mid-nineteenth century liberalism. Doctoral thesis (MPhil), University of Sussex.

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Abstract

The subject of this thesis is the intersection of the ideas of the manufacturer turned statesman, Richard Cobden (1804-1865), with members of the Quaker community in mid-nineteenth century Britain. Richard Cobden is often viewed as the embodiment of liberalism, arguing vociferously that his government should pursue policies of peace, financial retrenchment and reform. Underlying these ideas was his firm belief in the obtainability of a more equitable world governed by the natural laws of free trade, as described by Adam Smith. In the advancement of his cause he had the support of several Quakers, including the well-known liberal politician John Bright, as well as lesser-known figures such as Henry Ashworth and Joseph Sturge. What this thesis proposes is to focus on three historical subjects; the campaign for repeal of the corn laws, responses to the Irish potato famine and opposition to the Crimean war; comparing and contrasting the ideas of Cobden with those of several prominent Quakers. The commonality of ideas between them will be illuminated, but on a deeper level, the objective of this work will be twofold. First, aspects of Cobden’s political and intellectual life will be revealed, as will the influence of Quakerism and Quaker individuals on British public life. Secondly, it will be argued that studying the interaction between Cobden and the Quakers in the context of these three events reveals a new understanding of the events themselves, and of the growth and development of liberal thought in mid-nineteenth century Britain.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of History, Art History and Philosophy > History
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BX Christian Denominations > BX4800 Protestantism > BX7600 Friends. Society of Friends. Quakers
D History General and Old World > DA History of Great Britain > DA020 England > DA129 By period > DA300 Modern, 1485- > DA550 Victorian era, 1837-1901
J Political Science > JC Political theory. The state. Theories of the state > JC501 Purpose, functions, and relations of the state > JC0571 State and the individual. Human rights. Civil rights > JC0574 Liberalism
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 27 May 2021 08:14
Last Modified: 27 May 2021 08:14
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/99094

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