What is a Boycott?

Suppose there somebody on your town who cheated every timer he sold you something. If you and your friends got together and decided not to buy from him anymore, you would be conducting a boycott!

The word “boycott” had very interesting origin. In the days when many Irish landlords lived in England, their estates in Ireland were managed by land agensts. It was the job of these agents to collect as much money as possible, quite often regardless of whether the tenants could afford to pay.

One of this agents was Captain Charles Cunningham Boycott. in 1880, he refused to let the Irish tenant farmers decide how much rent they should pay and evicted them from their homes. As result, the tenants chased away his servants, tore down his fences, and cut off his mail and his food supplies.

Other tenant began to treat other land agents in the same way. When happened to other lands agents, it was said they had been “boycotted”. Today it is aplied to any organized refusal to trade or associate with a country, business concern, or an individual.

When trade unions developed in the United Kingdom, they often used the boycott against employers. There were two kinds of boycotts. A primary boycott was when a body of workers refused to work for an employer or to buy his products.

A secondary boycott was when these workers persuaded or forced other groups not no have any dealings with the employer. In courts of law, the primary boycott has generally been held legal. But decicions by many courts have held the secondary boycott to be illegal because they affected the rights of third parties.

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