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Justification Of The Corn Laws Essay

1701 words - 7 pages

Justification of the Corn Laws

The Corn Law was a potentially dangerous bill introduced in 1815 after
three years of good harvests. It was instigated with the support of
Lord Liverpool the current Prime Minister who saw the Corn Laws as a
temporary measure to create stability in the agricultural sector in
the immediate post-war years. The Corn Laws were potentially
disastrous because they, along with the abolishment of Income tax and
the creation of the Game laws, were seen as a return by the
ultra-Tory's to a single-issue, single class government. That issue
being the wants and needs of the landed classes. I believe
that the Corn Laws led large groups of the urbanised population
to become unreasonably politicised in their demands to parliament.
The catalyst for these potentially revolutionary actions being the
starvation of the working classes - the Corn Laws.

Lord Liverpool's justification for the Corn Laws was the appalling
state of agriculture in England in the post war period. England faced
a unique set of financial and economic problems bought about by the
end of the war. The harvest of 1813, 14 and 15 were extremely good
leading to a fall in prices by almost half. The end of trade sanctions
after the end of the Napoleonic Wars flooded the British market with
cheaper corn that made British Corn uncompetitive. Agriculture still
exceeded manufacturing as the country's largest single economic
interest. Therefore the Corn Laws were justifiable in this sense
because they still supported the largest single category of labour
provider. But while choosing to secure one social group Liverpool and
his cabinet had provided immediate alienation of the ever expanding
urban working classes that without financial problems had to deal with
the squalor the was commonplace in these cities that double in size in
a decade.

The Napoleonic was showed the importance of the British island being
able to support itself during periods when it could not rely on its
European neighbours for food. The Corn Laws protected the security of
Britain because it allowed Britain to continue to survive under long
intense periods of isolation. Liverpool introduced this law partly as
a security net after the problems that Britain had faced in the
Napoleonic war. If Britain ever faced a determined maritime blockade
then Britain would have starved to a considerably worse extent than it
suffered in the immediate aftermath of the introduction of the Corn
Laws.

In the increased period of radical feelings that followed the end of
the Loyalist safety net that had stood the war governments so well.
The British Government and Lord Liverpool were well aware of the
fragmentation of the French aristocracy that had led to there downfall
in 1789. Liverpool was well aware that he had a choice to make between
the...

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