Francis W. Hirst
Historical Period: The 20th Century and Beyond
Hirst came from a non-conformist family with strong ties to Cobden’s free trade and anti-war movement of the mid-19th century. He attended Oxford and trained as a lawyer before becoming active opposing the Boer War. He helped revive the Cobden Club in 1904 and became editor of The Economist in 1907, a post he was forced to resign in 1916 because of his strong opposition to the First World War. He went on to write many books on free trade, armaments, and biographies of leading liberals such as Smith, Gladstone and Morley. He was a leading individualist and classical liberal during libealism’s bleakest period.