18 September 2016
The Anti-Corn Law League was established on 18 September 1838
On this day in history, 1838: the Anti-Corn Law League is established by Richard Cobden and John Bright.
The Anti-Corn Law League was a successful political movement in Great Britain aimed at abolishing the unpopular Corn Laws, which protected landowners’ interests by levying taxes on imported wheat, thus raising the price of bread.
Richard Cobden was the League’s chief strategist, while John Bright was its great orator.
According to The Making of Modern England 1783-1867 by Asa Briggs, the League marked the emergence of the first powerful national lobbying group into politics, one with a centralised office, consistency of purpose, rich funding, very strong local and national organisation, and single-minded dedicated leaders. It elected men to Parliament. Many of its procedures were innovative, while others were borrowed from the anti-slavery movement. It became the model for later reform movements.
Pictured: A meeting of the Anti-Corn Law League in Exeter Hall in 1846.