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Free Trade and Liberal England 1846–1946$
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Anthony Howe

Print publication date: 1998

Print ISBN-13: 9780198201465

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198201465.001.0001

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Britain and Free Trade in the Age of Gladstone, Bismarck, and Disraeli: The Hegemon’s Dilemma, 1865–1886

Britain and Free Trade in the Age of Gladstone, Bismarck, and Disraeli: The Hegemon’s Dilemma, 1865–1886

Chapter:
(p.153) 5 Britain and Free Trade in the Age of Gladstone, Bismarck, and Disraeli: The Hegemon’s Dilemma, 1865–1886
Source:
Free Trade and Liberal England 1846–1946
Author(s):

Anthony Howe

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198201465.003.0005

This chapter examines the decline of the Liberal vision of European progress based on free trade, peace, and democracy. The interlocking pressures of rising military expenditure, economic depression, and territorial imperialism all exposed the fragility of Britain’s ability to shape the international economic order in her own free trade image. Her supposed leadership of the world economic system — the hegemony attributed Britain by late 19th-century German historical economists and by latter-day theorists of international relations — proved chimerical, as nation after nation imitated the American-inspired model of protection, propagated by List in the 1840s, but now more enthusiastically endorsed in Germany, France, Italy, Canada, and the Australian colonies, and not without its supporters in England.

Keywords:   military expenditure, protectionism, Britain, economic depression, territorial imperialism

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