Corn Laws

British import tariffs on grains (rye, malt and wheat) in the early nineteenth century, so as to maintain the high price of local produce which benefited the farm owners, who themselves maintained significant political influence. Opposition advocating free trade as an alternative, from such theorists as Adam Smith, David Hume and David Ricardo, as well as the Anti-Corn Law League, eventually led to their abolition, but unfortunately not before the laws’ exacerbating effects upon the Irish Famine.