Radical politician and son of a Rochdale textile manufacturer, his first public speech (on temperance, 1830) marks the strong quaker influence on him. A leading public speaker for the Anti‐Corn Law League (1839–46), Bright was elected MP for Durham (1843), Manchester (1847–57), and thereafter Birmingham. He supported free trade, opposed legislation limiting the hours of adult workers in textile factories, and, in the 1850s, called for peace, retrenchment, and reform, gaining unpopularity for his opposition to the Crimean War. He entered Liberal cabinets as president of the Board of Trade (1868–70) and chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster (1873–4, 1880–2), resigning on the latter occasion in protest at the naval bombardment of Alexandria. Said to be the most belligerent of pacifists, Bright was one of the greatest orators of the 19th cent.
Subjects: Economics — British History.