Great Corn Laws Debate

Topics: Agriculture, Supply and demand, Free trade Pages: 3 (1144 words) Published: December 12, 2013
The Great Corn-Laws Debate Analysis
The Great Corn-Laws Debate presented interesting view points between the protectionists and proponents of free-trade. The protectionists argued that Corn Laws would help stabilize commodity prices which in turn would help Great Britain continue to prosper and provide security to their citizens. By protecting the agriculture industry through protected prices the thriving manufacturing sector would have customers to buy their output. Given their numerous wars with France, Protectionists also argued that Great Britain had some public debt that would need to be repaid and this would be done primarily through taxing the farm land. Since the landowners taxes would be going up the stabilized commodity prices were thought to help offset their increased taxation. The last argument and most important according to the protectionists is in regard to national security. If there was no Corn Law, then Great Britain might become dependent on foreigners or enemies for their food supplies in the event they cannot produce enough for their own demand. The protectionists warn that trading partners can cut off supply at any given time and it is necessary to be independent when it comes to the food supply.

The free-trade crowd had a differing opinion from the protectionists. Represented mainly by the manufacturing owners and eventually the laborers, they argued that artificial corn prices drove up prices everywhere else in the economy. Bread cost more to buy and food was the main expense of the labor class. Along with food rising so did the labor costs across various sectors such as manufacturing which in turn made them more expensive compared to their competition in other countries. The free-trade crowd also noted that protected agricultural price laws were driving up demand for the land which normally wouldn’t be used in agricultural production. This is seen as a competitive disadvantage because it would take away manufacturing...
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