Case | HBS Case Collection | February 2001

Free Trade vs. Protectionism: The Great Corn-Laws Debate

by David A. Moss, Kevin P. Brennan, Matthew B. Gorin and Marian Lee


Examines the extended conflict between free traders and protectionists in nineteenth-century Britain. It culminates with Prime Minister Robert Peel's decision at the end of 1845 about whether to repeal the Corn Laws, a series of acts that had protected British agriculture for almost 200 years. With landowners and industrialists battling fiercely over the issues, nearly everyone agreed that the decision would be momentous.

Keywords: Conflict of Interests; Trade; Governing Rules, Regulations, and Reforms; Policy; Government Legislation; Change Management; Competitive Advantage; Plant-Based Agribusiness; Market Entry and Exit; Agriculture and Agribusiness Industry; Great Britain;


Moss, David A., Kevin P. Brennan, Matthew B. Gorin, and Marian Lee. "Free Trade vs. Protectionism: The Great Corn-Laws Debate." Harvard Business School Case 701-080, February 2001.