Literature of Liberty: Laissez-faire & History

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English Liberalism in the nineteenth century had its roots nurtured in several sources. Intellectually, it drew inspiration from eighteenth-century radical Whig traditions and their source in the Commonwealthmen. The Philosophical Radicals from Bentham through John Stuart Mill provided active debaters in liberal periodicals and books, as well as parliamentary commissions and other investigative bodies. The Manchester School of Economics provided liberals with significant experience through the Anti-Corn Law League. Finally, the spirit of nationalism lay not far beneath the surface of liberalism. Indeed, where earlier historians saw support for foreign self-determination (especially for Italian nationalists) as a hallmark of English liberalism, modern historians have noted the paradox that the constituencies for English liberalism were the oppressed peoples of the Celtic Fringe. In parliament Celtic support for liberalism was obvious with the Irish Nationalist members seated with the Whigs and Radicals. Likewise, “English” members sat for other parts of the Celtic Fringe (western England, Wales and Scotland) as well as for the north of England. The Liberal party arose from the heavy mobilization of voters stimulated by party rivalry in the 1830s following the Reform Act of 1832 (an era corresponding to the Jacksonian period in America)…

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Leonard P. Liggio
Literature of Liberty Reviewer
Literature of Liberty Reviewer
Literature of Liberty Reviewer
Literature of Liberty Reviewer
Literature of Liberty Reviewer
Literature of Liberty Reviewer
Literature of Liberty Reviewer
Literature of Liberty Reviewer
Literature of Liberty Reviewer
Literature of Liberty Reviewer
Literature of Liberty Reviewer