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Queen Victoria (1837-1901)
Guardian of Peace : J. S. Mill argues that free trade has done more to put an end to war than any political union or military alliance.
Guardian of Peace

Abridged from ‘Principles of Political Economy’, by John Stuart Mill (1806-1873).

Many religions and political ideologies promise prosperity and an end to war, but on closer inspection there is a price to pay: all must submit, or be punished. But for Victorian philosopher J. S. Mill, great progress had already been made by sovereign nations sharing trade ungrudgingly – we need only to widen our horizons.

COMMERCE first taught nations to see with goodwill the wealth and prosperity of one another. Before, the patriot, unless sufficiently advanced in culture to feel the world his country, wished all countries weak, poor, and ill-governed but his own: he now sees in their wealth and progress a direct source of wealth and progress to his own country.

It is commerce which is rapidly rendering war obsolete, by strengthening and multiplying the personal interests which are in natural opposition to it. And it may be said without exaggeration that the great extent and rapid increase of international trade, in being the principal guarantee of the peace of the world, is the great permanent security for the uninterrupted progress of the ideas, the institutions, and the character of the human race.

Abridged from ‘Principles of Political Economy’, by John Stuart Mill (1806-1873).

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Picture: © David Dixon, Geograph. Licence: CC-BY-SA 2.0. View original
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