corn Laws

Show Summary Details

Quick Reference

Regulations applied in Britain to the import and export of grain (mainly wheat) in order to control its supply and price. In 1815, following the end of the Napoleonic Wars, Parliament passed a law permitting the import of foreign wheat free of duty only when the domestic price reached 80 shillings per quarter (8 bushels). A sliding scale of duties was introduced in 1828 in order to alleviate the distress being caused to poorer people by the rise in the price of bread. A slump in trade in the late 1830s and a succession of bad harvests made conditions worse and strengthened the hand of the Anti-Corn Law League. In 1846 the Corn Laws were repealed save for a nominal shilling. This split the Conservative Party, but agriculture in Britain did not suffer as had been predicted. The repeal of the Corn Laws came to symbolize the success of free trade and liberal political economy.

Subjects: History.

Reference entries

See all related reference entries in Oxford Index »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content. subscribe or login to access all content.