Free Trade and ‘big Loaf Essay

Submitted By scarlettembury
Words: 581
Pages: 3

England in a New Century 1900-1918
6 (a)

In source (A) H H Asquith talks mainly on the shortcomings of tariff reforms and defending free trade on all levels, compared to Chamberlin who bases the speech mainly looking on how Free trade is not the best policy for workers in particular. Source A attacks the idea of Tariff Reform in the sense of the problems it will cause the working class; in this way it suggests that free trade has a more positive effect for the working class. It says that Tariff Reform will ‘raise the price of food…and goods, damaging our trade and increase unemployment.’ Whereas with free trade the British ‘big loaf’ is cheaper than that of France or Germany. However, Source B puts forwards the opposite view. Joseph Chamberlin suggests the ‘big loaf’ means lower wages and that it is impossible to reconcile Free Trade with working class interests, that it must be abandoned to benefit the working class by using duties payable by foreign importers (Tariffs).

As for similarities; both of the sources mention the idea of how Free trade effect prices of food for the working class. Both sources using the term ‘big loaf’ which comes from the ‘big loaf, little loaf’ argument, which suggested that free trades big loaf was cheaper than the tariff economies small loaf. Another similarity is that they both sources talk of the British industry and how free trade versus traffic in this respect will effect working class worker in factories.

The sources are definitely more different then similar, this is to be expected as Asquith is Liberal; compared to Conservative Chamberlin (who at this time is colonial sectary).

6 (b)

Joseph Chamberlin launched his campaign of Tariff reform in 1903 believing that imperial preference was the only way to protect British industry. In the period 1903 to 1906 Tariff reform split the Conservative party apart and united the Liberals, leading to their victory in 1906.
Sources A, B and C all raise the issue of Tariff reform and relate it to competition what Britain would face from foreign trade. Source C is a poster produced for the 1906 election and it ‘suggests a connection between Free Trade and Unemployment’. It is the source that focuses most on foreign competition, as it shows a British man out of work as foreign countries…