Well versed in the economics of Adam Smith and Jean-Baptiste Say, and inspired by the free-trade activism of England’s Anti–Corn Law League, Frédéric Bastiat (1801–50) became one of history’s most influential advocates of laissez-faire. Unlike the radical who mellows with age, Bastiat grew more and more idealistic and intransigent, challenging the status quo of his day and exhorting everyone to embrace liberty.

Brian Baugus is an assistant professor in the School of Business and Economics at King College in Bristol, Tennessee.
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