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The Politics of TradeThe Overseas Merchant in State and Society, 1660-1720$
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Perry Gauci

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780199241934

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199241934.001.0001

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The Merchant and Parliament

The Merchant and Parliament

(p.195) Chapter Five The Merchant and Parliament
The Politics of Trade


Oxford University Press

This chapter studies four key themes. Firstly it analyses the mercantile influence at Westminster of the election of overseas traders to the House of Commons between 1660 and 1754. More significant influences emerge from the subsequent study of extra-parliamentary agitation concerning commercial issues. Thanks to changes in parliamentary practice, the post-1689 period was highly important for the development of commercial politics, both in terms of the intensity of debate and the presentation of economic grievance. Parliament's response to these key developments is then examined to see if an evident increase in commercial lobbying had any impact on Westminster's approach to economic problems. A final section examines the contribution of the Members themselves, both in terms of legislative activity and in the course of parliamentary debate. All these sections suggest that the 1690-1715 period saw an important readjustment of the interaction between a gentry-dominated Parliament and overseas trade, which saw the interests of both advanced without any more than the occasional moment of tension.

Keywords:   merchants, overseas traders, representation, Westminster, Parliament, commercial legislation

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