Richard Cobden


June 3, 1804 — April 2, 1865


Richard Cobden was a member of British Parliament best known for his fight to repeal the Corn Laws. He was a fierce advocate of free trade, non-intervention, and peace. In addition to helping to repeal the Corn Laws which reduced tariffs, he also negotiated the Anglo-French trade agreement of 1860. Cobden is undoubtably a pioneer of peace and a rare peaceful politician.


Essential Thoughts


Wars have ever been but another aristocratic mode of plundering and oppressing commerce.


Free trade … reduced the danger of war more than any public policy ever.


The progress of freedom depends more upon the maintenance of peace, the spread of trade, and the diffusion of education, than upon the labors of cabinets and foreign offices.


People … must be brought into mutual dependence by the supply of each others’ wants. There is no other way of counteracting the antagonism of language and race … no other plan is worth a farthing.


To maintain what is denominated the true balance of European power has been the fruitful source of wars from the earliest time; and it would be instructive … to bring into review all the opposite struggles into which England has plunged for the purpose of adjusting … this national equilibrium. Let it suffice to say, that history exhibits us, at different periods, in the act of casting our sword into the scale of every European State.