Corn Law

(568 words)
  • Editors

Historical Context Essay

The Corn Law of 1815

During the French wars (1793-1814) the impediments to foreign trade had caused the price of grain in Britain to rise from around 45s a quarter (28 pounds) to 96s a quarter, causing misery to the rural poor, especially when poor harvests compounded shortages. Grain prices determined other food prices, and so meat prices in the same period roughly trebled. Rising prices and patriotic rhetoric about sustaining domestic food production encouraged landowners to enclose more common land, much of it marginally productive heaths and wastes, so supplies had increased by around 50%. However, the prospect of peace in 1814 caused a Parliament dominated by landowners who feared a collapse in prices to pass a Corn …

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Editors. "Corn Law". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 01 April 2005
[, accessed 02 July 2015.]