His fortune, fame is acquired by his writings and his dynamism will soon make Cobden the soul of the struggle for the repeal of the "Corn Laws". Under her passionate leadership, the association renamed "League against the grain Act" becomes one of the most powerful and the most active lobbying ever created in England. It has funds considerable up to 500,000 pounds, or more than EUR 30 current! obtained by gathering from all industrial areas of England. At the height of its action, it publishes 2 million booklets and holds 200 meetings each year. For the purposes of the case, Richard Cobden and his faithful disciple, John Bright, a Lancashire industrial, divided the country into thirteen districts. In each of them, "professors of the League" are working to bring the good word. On-site, with the help of the local industrial the League is made up in majority of industrialists who are major donors , they organize for meetings, festivals, parties, women committees. Farmers, land owners manufacturing... Each "public" is a specific case. Followed by an impressive network of journalists and politicians "friends" and even a part of the clergy, these actions of promotion took such a scale that the League eventually build its own conference centre in Manchester, Free Trade Hall. A famous today newspaper is even created to support the cause of free trade: "The Economist", including the founder, James Wilson, is an active member of the League. Richard Cobden itself struggles, linking meetings, organizing new shares, collecting funds, channelling the energies. To bring the battle to Parliament, he is himself candidate in the election of 1841. It is elected triumphantly at the same time as five other members of the League.
Need another five years to to win the repeal of the "Corn Laws". Five years during which his actions continue to grow, relayed to Parliament by Richard Cobden. Through his speeches, to size the reputation of a speaker meticulous, more concerned with arguments as effects of sleeves. But he knows also show strong, not hesitating as to make the Prime Minister, Robert Peel, responsible for the misery of workers. In 1844, he is forced to let go a little bit of ballast and lower duties on the importation of cattle and sheep. Faced with the resistance of large landowners, he however refuses to abolish the "Corn Laws". The crisis of the potato and the famine that it causes in Ireland in 1845 rightly past reluctance. On 16 may 1846, Peel is narrowly vote the abolition of the "Corn Laws". "The name that must be associated with these measures, it is a man driven by the ground the more selfless and pure... who demonstrated their need with a more admirable eloquence was simple and without Primer: this is the name of Richard Cobden", will tell the Prime Minister on the eve of the vote, thus paying tribute to his opponent.
Acquired at the end of a battle for eight years, the abolition of the "Corn Laws" makes big noise in Europe. "It does nothing happened more great in this world", said Frédéric Bastiat, politician and long-standing free trade ideas acquired French economist and despair introduce in France. For Richard Cobden, it is the beginning of a new life. Invited in Europe, there continues tirelessly his crusade for freedom of trade. Because in his view the two issues are closely related, it is also an ardent peace propaganda, activist for the naval and military arms reduction and the establishment of a forum of international arbitration. In 1851, to address the concerns in Britain about the advent of Napoleon III, he published a pamphlet in which he criticizes the fantasy of a French invasion of England. He loses much of its popularity acquired during the debate for the abolition of the "Corn Laws".
This does not prevent it to deliver a new battle, this time for a Treaty of commerce between the two great nations of the time: the France and Great Britain. In 1859, during a parliamentary debate, Cobden suggests that the Prime Minister Palmerston, rather than increase the budget of the Navy, converted Napoleon III to the virtues of free trade. Having read the record of this speech, the French Liberal Economist Michel Chevalier, rallied to Napoleon III, invited then in France to plead his case directly to the emperor. The interview takes place on October 27, 1859, with the approval of the British authorities. "It is very difficult to make reforms in France." "Here, we do revolutions, not reforms", reply Napoleon III to Richard Cobden, who started a long plea for a treaty between the two countries. Supported in France by the Minister of Commerce Eugène Rouher and in England by the Chancellor of the Exchequer William Gladstone, the idea is in progress not less and part of the channel. The Treaty was finally signed by Richard Cobden and Michel Chevalier on May 23, 1860. It provides a decrease of 15 on average of the customs duties collected on goods between the two countries and the reciprocal granting of most-favoured-nation clause. It is the first Treaty of free trade signed between the two countries since that of 1786. For Richard Cobden, it is the culmination of a struggle of nearly thirty years. Celebrated by the Liberals of the whole of Europe, nicknamed "the international man" by his followers, he continued for five years still his crusade for disarmament of nations. He died in 1865 banal acute bronchitis contracted on a trip to England.