Repeal of the Corn Law

Topics: Mercantilism, International trade, Free trade Pages: 2 (688 words) Published: April 19, 2012
1) “Repeal of the Corn Laws is perhaps better seen as the victory of the masses over the agricultural oligarchy (oligarchy: power resting with a small number of people).” How does this extract present and validate this statement? 1) The Corn Laws was a system which placed tariffs and quotas on imported goods flowing into Britain. Britain wanted to achieve self-sufficiency and did not want to be dependent on imports, which is why the Corn Laws were imposed. These laws only took into account the interests of the agricultural estates, who formed a majority in the Parliament, and the interests of the industrialists were ignored. These laws had an adverse impact on the British economy, as they forced the prices to be high, which led to an increase in the wages and a fall in the profits. Together with this, the exports of the goods manufactured in Britain were curtailed, since the countries from which Britain imported goods did not have money to buy these goods which Britain exported. A repeal of the Corn Laws was a victory for the masses because it took away the power from the agricultural elites, and now the interests of the industrial estates were also represented. There was an increase in the population, and a period of famine, and the needs of the whole population could not be met, which led the parliament to repeal the Corn Laws. This meant that the interests of the masses were not taken into account and together with this there was an increase in exports from Britain. This led to the flow of money into Britain which gave a boost to the industries. Unemployment was reduced as a large number of people were employed and there was an increase in productivity and efficiency. This also enabled the masses and the industrialists to come to power and increase the wealth and power of the country. A repeal of the Corn Laws prevented food riots in the country and saved many people from dying.

2) “The Corn Laws illustrate the dynamic interaction of the state and the...
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