Frédéric Bastiat: Campaigner for Free Trade, Political Economist, and Politician in a Time of Revolution

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Frédéric Bastiat was a pivotal figure in French classical liberalism in the mid-19th century. He suddenly emerged from the southwest province of Les Landes to assume leadership of the fledgling French free trade movement in 1844, which he modeled on that of Richard Cobden's Anti-Corn Law League in England. Bastiat then turned to a brilliant career as an economic journalist, debunking the myths and misconceptions people held on protectionism in particular and government intervention in general, which he called "sophisms" or "fallacies." When revolution broke out in February 1848, Bastiat was elected twice to the Chamber of Deputies where he served on the powerful Finance Committee and struggled to bring government expenditure under control. He confounded his political opponents with his consistent libertarianism: he denounced the socialists for their economic policies, but he took to the streets to prevent the military from shooting them during the riots that broke out in June 1848.
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Producer : Cato

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