legislation regulating the trade
. Interventionist policies to protect British trade were common in the 18th Century
but the most famous and most controversial
Corn Law was that enacted by Lord Liverpool
's government in 1815
Passed at a time when market prices were dropping rapidly, it imposed prohibitively high duties on the import of foreign corn when the domestic price was lower than 80 shillings (£4) a quarter. Widely criticised by radical politicians as legislation designed to protect the landed interest at the expense of the ordinary consumer, the Corn Law was amended to a sliding scale system in 1828 and ultimately repealed in 1846.
Anger at the effect of the Corn Laws was not just confined to politicians and reformers, but was also responsible for a series of large and sometimes violent protests by ordinary people who felt that the laws were keeping the price of corn and therefore bread (then a staple food in the British diet) artificially high.