Corn Laws

The Corn Laws were trade laws designed to protect cereal producers in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland against competition from less expensive foreign imports between 1815 and 1846. More simply, to ensure that British landowners reaped all the financial profits from farming, the corn laws (which imposed steep import duties) made it too expensive for anyone to import grain from other countries, even when the people of Great Britain and Ireland needed the food (as in times of famine).

The laws were introduced by the Importation Act 1815 (55 Geo. 3 c. 26) and repealed by the Importation Act 1846 (9 & 10 Vict. c. 22). These laws are often considered as examples of British mercantilism.

The economic issue, in essence, was food prices; the price of grain was central to the price of the most important food staple, bread, and the working man spent much of his wages on bread.

The political issue was a dispute between landowners (a long-established class, who were heavily represented in Parliament) and the new class of manufacturers and industrialists (who were not): the former desired to maximise their profits from agriculture, by keeping the price at which they could sell their grain high; the latter wished to maximise their profits from manufacture, by reducing the wages they paid to their factory workers -- the difficulty being that men could not work in the factories if a factory wage was not enough to feed them and their families; hence, in practice, high grain prices kept factory wages high also.

The Corn Laws enhanced the profits and political power associated with land ownership; their abolition was a significant increase of free trade.

Read more about Corn LawsOrigins, Opposition, Continued Opposition To Repeal, Repeal, Motivations, Effects of Repeal

Other articles related to "corn laws, corn law, corn":

Commercial Treaty
... But in the decade from 1830 to 1840 the Corn Laws were the chief subject of contention ... The first systematic Corn Laws imposing duties on grain had been passed in 1773 ... as the price of grain went down and up and it was against this form of the Corn Law that the great agitation led by Cobden and Bright was directed after ...
Chronology Of The Great Famine - Chronology - 1845 - October
... The remedy he decided was to repeal the Corn Laws ... for destitute districts would open the question of Corn Laws ... The principle of the Corn Laws had been to keep the price of home-grown grain up ...
Corn Laws - Effects of Repeal
... The price of corn during the two decades after 1850 averaged 52 shillings ... able to export vast quantities of cheap corn, as were peasant farms in the Russian Empire with simpler methods but cheaper labour ... Every corn-growing country decided to increase tariffs in reaction to this, except Britain and Belgium ...
Ebenezer Elliott - The Corn Law Rhymes
... He attributed his father's pecuniary losses and his own to the operation of the Corn Laws, and the demand to repeal them became the greatest issue in his life ... He formed the first society in England to call for reform of the Corn Laws the Sheffield Mechanics' Anti-Bread Tax Society founded in 1830 ... the prime mover in establishing the Sheffield Anti-Corn Law Society and he also set up the Sheffield Mechanics' Institute ...
Lord George Bentinck
... for his role in unseating Sir Robert Peel over the Corn Laws ... led the protectionist opposition to the repeal of the Corn Laws ... Bentinck and Disraeli did not prevent the repeal of the Corn Laws, they did succeed in forcing Peel's resignation some weeks later over the Irish Coercion Bill ...

Famous quotes containing the words laws and/or corn:

    Laws can be wrong and laws can be cruel. And the people who live only by the law are both wrong and cruel.
    —Ardel Wray. Mark Robson. Thea (Ellen Drew)

    ... a tin-horn politician with the manner of a rural corn doctor and the mien of a ham actor.
    —H.L. (Henry Lewis)