Anti-Corn Law League
   A pressure group that agitated for the repeal of the tariffs protecting expensive British-grown grain from foreign competition. The growing popularity of laissezfaire economic principles opposed to government intervention in the marketplace, undermined the policy of protecting the higher price of domestically grown grain against cheaper imported grain.
   In 1838, Richard Cobden helped organize the Anti-Corn Law League as a local Manchester society and, in 1839, as a national society. It had only one formal demand - the repeal of the Corn Laws - but in practice challenged the political position of the landlord elite that collected rents from wheat farmers. In addition, some league supporters believed that free trade would enhance the prospects for peace among the European powers, and others expected that it would enable manufacturers to pay their workers lower wages because repealing tariffs would lower the cost of living. At the time, bread was a major part of a working-class diet and not simply a symbol of food in general. With the help of John Bright’s oratory, the league conducted a propaganda campaign against the “bread tax.” A small loaf of bread - all that workers could afford under a system of tariffs - was contrasted with the big loaf that would feed workers and their families under a system of free trade. The League regarded the Conservative Party, dominated by landlords, as its enemy. Beginning in 1841, it intervened in constituency elections to fight protectionist candidates. Ironically, it was the Conservative prime minister, Sir Robert Peel, who was responsible for the repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846. The immediate cause was the emergency created by the potato famine in Ireland. Repeal symbolized the triumph of free trade principles, the recognition that Britain could not feed itself, and the shrinking role of agriculture in a predominantly manufacturing economy. It was not until 1903 that a major politician, Joseph Chamberlain, dared propose new food taxes. Repeal disrupted the British party system. Peel split his largely agricultural party by repealing the Corn Laws. Some of his Peelite followers, notably William Gladstone, eventually joined the rival Liberal Party. Although the repeal of the Corn Laws owed more to Peel than to the Anti-Corn Law League, later pressure groups often modeled themselves on the league, its organizational structure and strategies.
   See also <>; <>.
   FURTHER READING:
    McCord, Norman. The Anti-Corn Law League: 1838-1846 . London: George Allen and Unwin, 1958.
   DAVID M. FAHEY

Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Anti-Corn Law League — L Anti Corn Law League est une ligue contre les Corn Laws (lois sur les grains) fondée en 1839 par des économistes, des industriels, des commerçants et des banquiers de Manchester. Sommaire 1 Histoire 2 Objectifs 3 Actions …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Anti-Corn-Law-League — (engl., spr. ännti korn lah lihg), Antikornzolliga, im Okt. 1838 zu Manchester durch Cobden mit andern Kaufleuten gebildeter Verein, um den 1815 eingeführten Korngesetzen ein Ende zu machen und freie Getreideeinfuhr zu erwirken, erreichte 1846… …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Anti-Corn-Law-League —   [ æntɪ kɔːnlɔː liːg, englisch], Liga gegen die Korngesetze, von englischen Fabrikanten unter Führung von R. Cobden, J. Bright u. a. 1839 in Manchester gegründete Vereinigung gegen die Getreidezölle und zur Förderung des Freihandels. Der Verein… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Anti-Corn Law League — The Anti Corn Law League was in effect the resumption of the Anti Corn Law Association, which had been created in London in 1836 but did not obtain widespread popularity. The Anti Corn Law League was founded in Manchester in 1838. Richard Cobden… …   Wikipedia

  • Anti-Corn Law League — Versammlung der Anti Corn Law League 1846 in Exeter Hall Die Anti Corn Law League (dt. Antigetreidezollliga), war eine Vereinigung in England, welche die Abschaffung der Getreidezölle erstrebte und auch herbeigeführt hat. Diese bereits im 17.… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Anti-Corn Law League — British organization founded in 1839, devoted to fighting England s Corn Laws, regulations governing the import and export of grain. It was led by Richard Cobden, who saw the laws as both morally wrong and economically damaging. The league… …   Universalium

  • Anti-Corn Law League — noun an association formed in opposition to the English Corn Laws by Richard Cobden and John Bright in 1839 …   Australian English dictionary

  • Corn Law — Eng. Hist. any of the laws regulating domestic and foreign trading of grain, the last of which was repealed in 1846. * * * ▪ British history       in English history, any of the regulations governing the import and export of grain. Records… …   Universalium

  • Corn laws — Les Corn Laws étaient une série de textes réglementaires adoptés au Royaume Uni entre 1773 et 1815 pour encadrer le commerce des céréales. On désigne cependant le plus souvent par ce terme le dernier de ces textes, le Corn Law Act de 1815, qui… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Corn Laws — n. in England, certain laws imposing heavy duties on the importation of grain, repealed in 1846 * * * n [pl] a set of British laws, first introduced in the Middle Ages, which controlled the import and export of grain in order to protect the price …   Universalium

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