The conspiracy of free trade: Anglo-American relations and the ideological origins of American globalization, 1846-1896
MetadataShow full item record
This work focuses on three issues in particular: how Victorian free trade cosmopolitanism reached and influenced American domestic and foreign policies; how American economic nationalism adversely affected Cobdenism in the United States and the British World; and how both these conflicting ideologies shaped Anglo-American relations, the international free trade movement, and modern globalization. In doing so, I argue that America’s Cobdenites fought fiercely for freer trade, anti-imperialism, the gold standard, and closer ties with the British Empire in an era dominated by protectionism, “new” imperialism, silver agitation, and Anglophobia. America’s economic nationalists in turn considered these Cobdenite efforts as part of a vast, British-inspired, free trade conspiracy. This period’s leading protectionist intellectuals alternatively held an Anglophobic belief in infant industrial protectionism and government-subsidized internal improvements. American implementation of what I call Listian nationalist policies in turn greatly affected the British Empire by strengthening internal calls to end British free trade practices and to bring closer the geographically disparate colonies through the creation of a Greater Britain, an idea made all the more viable owing to the development of more efficient tools of globalization such as the transoceanic telegraph, railroads, canals, and steamship lines. I thus incorporate a fresh ideological and global approach to late nineteenth-century foreign relations by explicitly intertwining U.S. policies with those of the British Empire and the history of modern globalization.