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Liverpool and the American trade, 1865-90

Cooper, A. J (1989) Liverpool and the American trade, 1865-90. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.85952) (KAR id:85952)


By the middle of the nineteenth century, an apparently settled system of international trade was beginning to be affected by new influences, which largely came to fruition between 1865 and 1890. This period was characterised by faster communications, greater competition in international markets, vastly expanded world production of primary products and manufactured goods, and a changeover from a boom cycle in trade to one of recurring depression and uncertain profitability. Commercial houses in ports on both sides of the Atlantic suffered severe losses through an inability to adapt their trading to the new circumstances and opportunities, and valuable connections were destroyed. As a leading port and international market, Liverpool was subjected to local manifestations of these influences, when the resumption of the full range of American trade after the Civil War seemed to herald the return of prosperous and settled conditions in transatlantic trade. With many misgivings, the commercial community found it necessary to abandon conservative attitudes, and to capitalise on the new business practices fostered by improved communications. Similarly, mercantile houses which remained active in trade in Liverpool found it desirable to reject concepts of exclusivity of function, insofar as these had ever become established. There was a belated realisation of the need to modernise the facilities of the port, in order to keep abreast of advances in transport and world production, and to preserve the market functions to safeguard the role of the port. Despite the challenge of established and newly promoted ports, and the introduction of direct trading between inland markets on each side of the Atlantic, Liverpool was able to retain a pre-eminent position among ports of the United Kingdom into the 1890s and beyond because of the extent of the facilities which she could offer, and her favoured position in the generally flourishing American trade.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.85952
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 09 February 2021 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Uncontrolled keywords: Transatlantic trade 1865-90
Subjects: E History America
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of History
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2019 16:22 UTC
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2022 11:06 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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