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  • Created by: Katie
  • Created on: 13-01-14 14:16
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  • background to 1865
    • In the 18th century there had been 2 main parties: WHIGS and TORIES. Both came from landowning classes. They were not coherent or organised like modern political parties.
    • The WHIGS believed the powers of the monarchy should be limited by parliament.  They came to be associated with reform.
      • TORIES were strong supporters of the monarchy. They were seen as reactionary.
    • The 1832 GREAT REFORM ACT gave the vote to middle class merchant, businessmen and the professional classes. These groups represented the new 'urban wealth' of Britain. They tended to support the Whigs who dominated government from 1832-65.
    • The TORIES formed a brief government from 1841-46. Their leader Robert Peel gave them a new name - the conservative party and tried to modernise their image.
      • His main achievement was the removal of taxes on imports, which led to lower food prices for the working class. This led to a period of great prosperity for Britain right up to the 1870s.
      • In 1846, Peel took his policy further when he repealed the corn laws which had kept prices high. This was mainly in response to the Irish famine.
        • The repeal of the corn laws split the conservative party as it was extremely controversial. Those who supported Peel and free trade became the Peelites (including Gladstone) They eventually became part of the new liberal party.
          • Those who opposed the repeal became known as protectionists, staying in the conservative party under Lord Derby.
    • In 1859, the Liberal part was formed. It consisted of several different groupings - whigs, liberals, radicals and Peelites.


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