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The Corn Laws

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the Corn Laws, cause of one of the most explosive political debates in the 19th century.

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the Corn Laws. In 1815 the British Government passed legislation which artificially inflated the price of corn. The measure was supported by landowners but strongly opposed by manufacturers and the urban working class. In the 1830s the Anti-Corn Law League was founded to campaign for their repeal, led by the Radical Richard Cobden. The Conservative government of Sir Robert Peel finally repealed the laws in 1846, splitting his party in the process, and the resulting debate had profound consequences for the political and economic future of the country.


Lawrence Goldman
Fellow in Modern History at St Peter's College, Oxford

Boyd Hilton
Former Professor of Modern British History at the University of Cambridge and Fellow of Trinity College

Cheryl Schonhardt-Bailey
Reader in Political Science at the London School of Economics

Producer: Thomas Morris.

Available now

42 minutes

Last on

Thu 24 Oct 2013 21:30


Lawrence Goldman at the University of Oxford


Boyd Hilton at the University of Cambridge


Cheryl Schonhardt-Bailey at the London School of Economics


Richard Cobden - Oxford Dictionary of National Biography


Sir Robert Peel - Oxford Dictionary of National Biography


Corn Laws - Wikipedia





Anna Gambles, Protection and Politics: Conservative Economic Discourse, 1815-1852 (Royal Historical Society, 1999)


Norman Gash, Peel (Longman Higher Education, 1976)


Boyd Hilton, A Mad, Bad, and Dangerous People? England 1783-1846 (Clarendon Press, 2006)


Boyd Hilton, Corn, Cash, Commerce: The Economic Policies of the Tory Governments 1815-1830 (Oxford University Press, 1977)


Anthony Howe, Free Trade and Liberal England 1846-1946 (Clarendon Press, 1997)


Norman McCord, The Anti-Corn Law League 1838-1846 (Allen & Unwin, 1968)


Paul A. Pickering and Alex Tyrrell, The People's Bread: A History of the Anti-Corn Law League (Leicester University Press, 2000)


Donald Read, Cobden and Bright: A Victorian Political Partnership (Edward Arnold, 1967)


Cheryl Schonhardt-Bailey, From the Corn Laws to Free Trade: Interests, Ideas, and Institutions in Historical Perspective (The MIT Press, 2006)



Role Contributor
Presenter Melvyn Bragg
Interviewed Guest Lawrence Goldman
Interviewed Guest Boyd Hilton
Interviewed Guest Cheryl Schonhardt-Bailey
Producer Thomas Morris


  • Thu 24 Oct 2013 09:00
  • Thu 24 Oct 2013 21:30

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