“The London Times editorially censures the attitude of the State of South Carolina towards the Federal Government; but admits that the Southerners have some right on their side, namely — the right to free trade.” Thus reported the New York Times on December 24, 1860. So the British fancy lads had declared, back in 1860, that “Free Trade” was a “right.” 
One exception at least was the “Free Trade” in negroes. In 1561 Britain’s Sir John Hawkins “first engrafted upon English commerce the African slave trade.” Britain’s Queen Elizabeth I, the so-called “Virgin Queen” (and mother of Francis Bacon), “openly protected and shared in the profits” of the African slave trade. 
Britain also did a lively “Free Trade” in opium, and perhaps still does. But the brutal nature of the slave trade aroused the indignation of ordinary English persons. “A storm of fury arose from common Englanders against the manner in which the trade was conducted.” Yet it was not the slavery itself, but the horrors of the middle passage which stirred the minds of the British people to abolish the slave trade. 
About the close of the year 1834 (after Andrew Jackson had crushed nullification attempts), in Charleston, New Orleans, and some other Southern cities, a few politicians earnestly desired the re-establishment of the African slave-trade and the acquisition of new slave territory. The new slave territory was to form a “Golden Circle”, with Havana, Cuba as the center point and embracing Venezuela, Nicaragua, Mexico, and part of the southern United States. Among these southern politicians was Cunning Calhoun, a.k.a. John C. Calhoun. He and others believed that federal tyranny played a part in the prohibition of the slave-trade.  (Background: “Reb Spy Admits Link to ‘Cunning Calhoun'”, Ersjdamoo’s Blog entry of June 10, 2014.)
Cunning Calhoun and others of his ilk formed themselves into secret juntos, which, without any particular form or ritual, were called S. R. C.’s, (Southern Rights Clubs.) They had certain signs of recognition, by which they made themselves known to each other. The African slave-trade being contrary to the laws of the United States, and to the laws of the whole civilized world, it was not hoped to carry it on in an open manner. The first efforts of the S. R. C.’s, therefore, were directed to the fitting out, manning, and equipping of secret slavers, which were to cruise around the African coast and kidnap negroes whenever a good opportunity was afforded. Between the years 1834 and 1840 it is presumed that at least six of these vessels were equipped and sent out. “Some of them were successful, and filled the measure of their appointment, while others were captured by English and other fleets, to the great mortification of the S. R. C.’s, and the discouragement of their enterprise. They did not, however, ‘give up the ship’ in consequence of these discouragements, but continued their slave piracy with renewed vigor, whenever it seemed possible to conceal their maneuverings.” 
Then, in 1844, the prospect of the war with Mexico seemed to give the secret society great hope for the acquisition of new slave territory. Their glorious dreams of a “Golden Circle” empire seemed now in a fair way to be realized. In the mean time they had, in their secret juntos, done all in their power to elevate and to continue in office, at Washington, such congressional representatives as were suited to their peculiar views. These were persistent and untiring in their efforts to inflame the United States Government against Mexico and Spain, in the hope that a war would be the result, and thereby an opportunity afforded for the absorption of Southern territory. 
The war with Mexico was brought to a close, and Texas, New Mexico, and California were added to the United States domain; but Cuba was still out. The consciousness of this deficiency left an aching void in the plans of the conspirators, and, forthwith, filibustering expeditions into Cuba were matured and set on foot by the members of the secret society, not in the hope that such expeditions would, in themselves, terminate successfully, but with a view to so embroiling the United States and Spanish Governments, that another acquisitive war would be waged by the former against the latter, and Cuba thereby wrested from its former owners. 
In the Millard Fillmore times (1850 – 1853), Narciso Lopez, a Venezuelan adventurer, launched his own “Bay of Pigs.” Lopez assembled mercenaries at New Orleans, and his force landed at Playtas, Cuba. The American press trumpeted the cause of the United States liberating Cuba from Spain. But when Lopez’s mission ended disastrously, President Fillmore would not be budged into war. 
In the Spring of 1854, it became apparent to the secret society that the repeal of the Missouri Compromise had caused a great political revolution in the Northern States; that the old Whig party had become extinct, and that its former adherents, together with many old Democrats, were building up a new party. This was the so-called Know-Nothing party. The sweeping victory which the Know-Nothings achieved in the congressional and state elections of 1854 opened the eyes of the Southern Democrats to the fact that the old national party of which they had presumed they had almost complete control, was not so invincible as had been supposed. 
Millard Fillmore was the presidential candidate of the Know-Nothings in 1856. Fillmore, in spite of the later British decree that “Free Trade” is a right, favored instead a protective tariff. Back in 1842, when Fillmore was the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, he had promoted and obtained a tariff bill. There had been an economic depression under the presidency of John “Free Trade” Tyler, but then, after Fillmore’s protective tariff was enacted, the depression began to lift. But in 1844, when James Polk was elected president, one Robert J. Walker was made Treasury Secretary. Through the efforts of Walker, the Protective Tariff of 1842 was repealed. The ruinous Free Trade Tariff of 1846 became law, and “produced the train of business and financial disasters that its opponents predicted. Instead of prosperity everywhere in the land, there was misery and ruin.” 
Ironically it was two fine southern gentlemen — Bill Clinton of Arkansas and Al Gore of Tennessee — who yet again pushed upon us the “Free Trade” in the 1990s. Monsieurs Clinton and Gore helped persuade us that Mexican consumers were eager to purchase American-made products. The NAFTA agreement would result in more jobs for Americans, we were told. But instead there was “a giant sucking sound” of lost jobs, as Ross Perot had predicted. The news broke in 2010 that there had been zero net job creation in the Aughts (2000 – 2009).
(The above first appeared at my Melchizedek Communique web site on June 13, 2011.)
——- Notes ——-
 “One Day Later From Europe”, New York Times, December 24, 1860
 Redman, Brian. What Would Millard Do?. 2009. Published by Lulu.com. Also available as a Kindle e-book.
 Perrine, Charles O. An Authentic Exposition of the K.G.C.
 Logan, John A. The Great Conspiracy. 1886.