group of English political economists of the 19th cent., so called because they met at Manchester. Their most outstanding leaders were Richard Cobden
and John Bright
. Their chief tenet was that the state should interfere as little as possible in economic matters (see laissez-faire
), and they advocated free trade
See F. W. Hirst, ed., Free Trade and other Fundamental Doctrines of the Manchester School (1903, repr. 1968); W. D. Grampp, The Manchester School of Economics (1960).
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