Marx-Engels Subject Archive
Marx and Engels
On the Corn Laws
The Corn Laws were a series of laws in England dating back to the 15th century, which imposed high duties on imported corn with the aim of maintaining high prices on the home market. In the early 19th century several laws were passed (in 1815, 1822 and so on) changing the conditions of corn imports, and in 1828 a sliding scale was introduced, which raised import duties on corn while lowering prices on the home market and, on the contrary, lowered import duties while raising prices.
In 1838 the Manchester factory owners Cobden and Bright founded the Anti-Corn Law League, which widely exploited the popular discontent at rising corn prices. While agitating for the abolition of the corn duties and demanding complete freedom of trade, the League strove to weaken the economic and political positions of the landed aristocracy and to lower workers' wages. At the same time, the workers stood to gain from a reduction in the price of bread, so long as they could maintain their wages.
The struggle between the industrial bourgeoisie and the landed aristocracy over the Corn Laws ended in their repeal in 1846.
Articles by Engels
From Condition of the Working Class in England
Newspaper Articles by Marx and Engels
Afterword and Preface to Capital
From Marx-Engels Correspondence
Speeches by Marx
From Reference Archive