Name given by contemporaries to a tendency within nineteenth-century English liberalism, so called because its leading figures were connected with the city of Manchester. Used more generally to refer to the laissezfaire form of classical liberalism. Some historians have argued that the Manchester School, as an organized movement, did not exist, but this is contradicted by the clear evidence of contemporary accounts from both members and opponents. There is more room for debate as to who the members were, but most would agree that the main figures were Cobden and Bright. Bastiat may be counted as a fellow traveller while Hirst consciously saw himself as a successor or follower of the earlier school.