Manchester school, 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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