• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How far were the Anti Corn Law League responsible for Peel's repeal of the Corn Laws?

Extracts from this document...


How far was The Anti Corn Law League responsible for the repeal of the Corn Laws? The Anti Corn Law League's part in the resolve over the issue of repeal was due chiefly to their mighty effort in drawing mass attention to the subject, bringing it to the forefront of the political agenda. They had one aim - to see to the complete removal of the tariff on corn. Led by dynamic and intelligent politicians, the league organised themselves using new and innovative ways to spread their message. They capitalised on the contemporary social, economic and religious discontent of the lower and middle classes, of which the Corn Laws were felt as being imposed at their expense. Armed with the interest to relieve social distress and a potential 'class war' the league did all it could outside and inside Parliament to pressurise Peel. Peel's need for 'good government' swept the beliefs of the pressure group into the political tide; the famine in Ireland, Peel's own party politics and Britain's international stance were all factors included in the decision of repeal. It was by no means that Peel's ultimate decision was the fruit of the Anti Corn Law League's labour alone. The Anti-Corn Law League was founded by Richard Cobden and John Bright in 1839 Both of these men believed in the idea of Free Trade, where no import taxes should be levied whatsoever. ...read more.


This effective organisation made raising awareness possible, communicating their message in all social spectrums. Without adopting an antagonistic approach whereby violence and heavy disruption of Britain would have wreaked havoc, the League's method of educated debate served them as staunch opponents. As an opposition group, the League threatened Peel's political future. Peel's background was of the textile mills, therefore he would have been partial to free trade. However, as leader of the Conservatives, in theory, he was obliged to uphold Conservative values i.e. maintaining the Corn Laws. His personal belief was that Britain's stagnant economy was due to their protectionist stance. As a result he needed an excuse for repeal. If he had given in to the demands of a pressure group in the form of the ACLL, not only committing treason to his party, he would have appeared weak and ineffectual. From1840 to 1842, failed harvests meant that basic foodstuffs were in short supply and consequently more expensive. Protective tax on wheat made it more expensive, jeopardous to the poorer population. The potato crop in Ireland had failed in 1845 causing widespread famine. Europe itself was facing similar problems of poor harvests so already there was a general pressure on the government to reconsider its protectionist stance of the 1815 Corn Laws, which was obstructing the way for cheap bread. ...read more.


The repeal was marked by the sale of innumerable emblems, among them crude statuettes of the Prime Minister, Sir Robert Peel as well as commemorative china inscribed with words of thanksgiving." - Nicolas Bentley. The Anti Corn Law League did succeed in bringing the issue to the forefront of politics and subjecting Peel to extra parliamentary pressure despite his declared rejection of this idea. They had the means and organisation to start a revolution and it was the right condition in England to create the uprising. Peel knew along with the social climate changing beneath him, the only way to stablise Britain was to go with the general consensus even if it meant turning his back on his party, something he was now accustomed to. Looking out for the country's interests rather than agricultural elite's profits, the League placed the issue of repeal right in front of him and it was up to Peel to take the final step. The devastating famine in Ireland allowed Peel to save himself from party humiliation as he could demonstrated his 'humanitarian attitude' which would coincide with the need to repeal in England. The Anti Corn Law League, did as much as it could to push for repeal ad it showed the social discontent and I believe that they were half responsible for repeal of the Corn Laws. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Politics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Politics essays

  1. Compare and contrast the Chartist and Anti -Corn Law League movements. Explain and illustrate ...

    Furthermore, repealing the Corn Laws would also benefit Britain's export market, as other countries would in turn reduce tariffs on British imports. They said that this would lead to a reign of peace between nations, and bring Europe closer together.

  2. Why did the Conservative Party split in 1846? - Ed Pearson When Peel announced ...

    They required a large amount of food at lower prices, removing the corn laws would enable this, Peels view on this can be seen in his memoirs 'The minister who foresaw...that there would be 'cruel distress' in Ireland from the scarcity of food, might surely advise the removal of restrictions

  1. Free essay

    To what extent was Sir Robert Peel responsible for the conservative party break up ...

    these was the Bank Charter Act 1844 this was quite a beneficial policy because it restricted the issue of paper money by bank and concentrated the right solely in the Bank of England. This meant that no new bank could issue money at all and all old banks were restricted.

  2. How far were Gandhi's actions after 1920 responsible for Indiagaining her independence in 1947?

    Whilst it can be argued that Gandhi's call for peace was significant, it is important to note that British statesmen of the time were more concerned19 by factors such as the fact that Britain was in economic downturn post-WWI than with Gandhi's attempted show of power.

  1. Conservative Victory of 1941, Peel and the Weakness of the Whigs.

    As a result, there was a lot of hostility towards the government as there was no legislation for the working class population. On top of this, adequate public health arrangements were inaccessible for the working class along with the absence of proper sewage systems.

  2. Public Law 1 Assessed Essay 1

    two thirds majority on its third reading in the House of Lords. The repealing procedures here have been altered, yet the Labour government are still allowing for the act to be repealed, and the courts will uphold this procedure since it is stated in the Act and does not go against the concept of Parliamentary sovereignty.

  1. How Far Was Lord Liverpool's Government Directly Responsible for the popular unrest in the ...

    and the Seditious Meetings Act, which limited public gatherings. This was rightfully seen as a great impingement on personal liberties. Bamford, a leading radical, said "Personal Liberty not now being secure from hour to hour...leading reformers are induced to leave their homes and seek concealment."

  2. The Corn Laws

    The parliament protected and some agreed with what the men said. All Mps had to be landowners for them to be heard. In 1846 the Corn Laws were repealed. Historians have suggested that there were three factors that led to the repeal of the Corn Laws.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work