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Cromwell pp 136-159 | Cite as

Industrial Laisser-Faire and the Policy of Cromwell

  • G. D. Ramsay
Part of the World Profiles book series (WOPR)

Abstract

AT THE CLOSE of the Middle Ages there was never a hint A that the political sovereign was not entitled to regulate the economic life of his principality, and it is nowadays a commonplace among economic historians that industry in England was in fact regulated with varying thoroughness by the government in the century or so preceding the outbreak of civil war in the 1640s. It is also agreed that long before the end of the eighteenth century the triumph of laisser-faire was assured and indeed that this was one of the main factors in precipitating the ultimate heightening of manufacturing speed and skill that passes under the name of “the industrial revolution.” As to when and how the change in governmental policy was effected there is at present less certainty. It is the purpose of this essay to suggest further clues to the solution of the prolem and, in particular, by examining the effectiveness of industrial regulation during the Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell to determine the attitude of Puritan government in its heyday toward industry and incidentally thereby to help toward elucidating the significance—or insignificance—of the Civil Wars and the subsequent religious changes in English economic history.

Keywords

Eighteenth Century Seventeenth Century Economic History Industrial Regulation Order Book 
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Notes

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© Ivan Roots 1973

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  • G. D. Ramsay

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