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Anti-Corn Law League Card

1838 - 1846

The Corn Laws, which kept the price of bread artificially high, were repealed in 1846 by Sir Robert Peel, who was born in Bury. This anti-Corn Law League membership card is evidence of the groundswell of support in the North West for this reform.

The Anti-Corn Law League was founded in Manchester in 1838. Richard Cobden and John Bright were the two principal originators of the League while George Wilson, the President of the League, was in charge of administrative duties.

Its long-term aims were: to establish a fully free-trade economy in order to decrease the price of basic food products (such as bread and agricultural produce); to support the performance of agriculture and industry; and, by doing so, to weave stronger commercial bonds (supposedly the guarantors of peace) with other nations.

Once the abolition of the Corn Laws was achieved in 1846, the League challenged other protectionist practices in the United Kingdom.