Free trade within national borders is in some countries a comparatively recent development. Jean Baptiste Colbert tried to abolish internal trade barriers in France in the 17th cent., but that was not accomplished until the French Revolution, a hundred years later. In the German states Prussia took the lead in organizing the Zollverein movement after 1818. The desire to assure freedom from internal trade barriers in the United States was a factor in calling the Constitutional Convention. In Britain, the classic home of the free-trade movement, the term free trade was first used during the agitation for removal of the privileges of the chartered companies in the 17th cent.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.