Anti-Corn Law League

In 1815, following the Napoleonic Wars, Great Britain imposed import duties on a large array of agricultural goods from abroad. Known collectively as the “Corn Laws,” these laws prohibited the importation of foreign agricultural goods until the domestic price of wheat reached 80 shillings per quarter. In 1828, the laws were amended to allow a sliding scale of import duties—the duties fell as the prices at home rose. Still the measures remained highly protectionist and were condemned by liberal thinkers and statesmen around the British Isles. Some 11 years later, in 1839, the Anti-Corn Law League was founded to lobby for the repeal of these laws. The leaders of this group were Richard Cobden and John Bright, both of whom served in Parliament. They argued ...

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