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From the Corn Laws to Free Trade: Interests, Ideas, and Institutions in Historical Perspective
Publisher: The MIT Press | ISBN: 0262195437 | edition 2006 | PDF | 440 pages | 3,41 mb
The repeal of Britain's Corn Laws in 1846—one of the most important economic policy decisions of the nineteenth century—has long intrigued and puzzled political scientists, historians, and economists. Why would a Conservative prime minister act against his own party's interests? The Conservatives entered government in 1841 with a strong commitment to protecting agriculture; five years later, the Conservative Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel presided over repeal of the protectionist Corn Laws, violating party principles and undercutting the economic interests of the land-owning aristocracy. Only a third of Conservative members of Parliament supported the repeal legislation and within a month of repeal, Peel's government fell. The Conservatives remained out of power for decades. In this definitive book, Cheryl Schonhardt-Bailey examines the interacting forces that brought about the abrupt beginning of Britain's free-trade empire.