Chapter 2: Imagining, visualizing, and narrating peace through trade: free trade networks, world exhibitions, and pathways of global cooperation
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The 1851 world exhibition sought to represent the world in a village. Its organisers expected it to vindicate the move towards free trade with the 1846 Repeal of the Corn Laws; to showcase the apparent effect of the new policy of strengthening social cohesion and domestic stability; and to legitimize free trade as a general policy principle fostering technological diffusion, economic growth, and international peace and stability. Based on research of published documents, media reports, and archival sources, this chapter explores how free traders in this way framed world exhibitions as global cultural institutions to establish patterns of imagining, visualizing and narrating global peace through trade as one particular pathway to global cooperation. It argues that their framing appropriated the world exhibitions and made it possible for later forms of advocacy of freer trade to build on their endeavours to propagate a particular vision of modernity and global cooperation.