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.

Robert Peel

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

The Corn Laws, 1842
The Position of the Political Parties, 1842
History of the English Corn Laws, 1845

From Condition of the Working Class in England

The Agricultural Proletariat
Attitude of the Bourgeoisie Towards the Proletariat
An English Turnout

Newspaper Articles by Marx and Engels

The State of Trade
The English Ten Hours Bill
Letters From France
Free Trade and The Chartists
The French Commercial Treaty
The Wages Theory of the Anti-Corn Law League

Afterword and Preface to Capital

Afterword to the 2nd German Edition of Capital
Preface to the Second German Edition of Capital

From Marx-Engels Correspondence

Marx to Engels, 7 January 1851
Marx To Lasselle, 23 January 1855
Marx To Engels, 8 December 1857
Marx to Engels, 30 November 1867

Speeches by Marx

To the Working Men and Women of Great Britain and Ireland
On the Irish Question
On the Consequences of using Machinery under Capitalism

From Reference Archive

On the Corn Trade and Corn Laws, Adam Smith 1776
On Restricting the Importation of Foreign Corn, Thomas Malthus 1815

See also:

On the Trade Unions
Marx and Engels On Free Trade
On the Chartists