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Politics and the NationBritain in the Mid-Eighteenth Century$
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Robert Harris

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780199246939

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199246939.001.0001

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Trade and the National Interest

Trade and the National Interest

(p.236) CHAPTER SIX Trade and the National Interest
Politics and the Nation

Bob Harris

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on schemes to promote British commercial power and in particular to match efforts being made in France and elsewhere on the continent to strengthen their trading and economic base. As economic nationalism waxed strong in Europe, the British legislature was pressed to respond to protect the country's national interest. There were also efforts outside parliament to promote Britain's manufactures and commerce. The relationship of these extra-parliamentary efforts to party and normal political divisions was complex. Several organisations such as the Free British Fishery Society were broadly aligned with the opposition, whereas the Society for the Promotion of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce was non-partisan. In this, it reflects how far by the mid-1750s partisan politics at the national level were becoming more fluid and confused, but also the degree to which the cause of supporting British commerce, in the face of French competition and the French threat to British security, had become a genuinely national goal.

Keywords:   Britain, commerce, trade, France, parliament, partisan politics, competition, economic nationalism, national interest

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