Britain 1815

The economy, patterns of British society, religion and politics, the French revolution and the war with France.

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  • Created on: 28-12-12 11:27

Patterns of society 1815

Social Pyramid:

- Aristocracy and wealthy landed families, they were involved in mnay moneymaking schemes. E.g. bankers, business men, landowners.

- 3/4 of land owned by the rich, but farmed by tenants.

- Increasing numbers of industrial workers living in squaler conditions; airless, inches deep in sewage, back to back housing and men, women and children working 14 hr days.

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- Vast majority of population said they believed in Christianity.

- The Church of Engalnd or Anglican Church was the established church and controlled Oxford and Cambridge and many of the leadsing schools.

- It was 'the centre of village life', giving a place of worship to all social classes and underlined the social hierachy through seating arrangements.

- By the end of the 18th century, nonconformists were increasing in members and influencing their religion.  This religion had grown up next to the Anglican Church but differed in it's form of worship and services.

- A new group of non conformists appeared- the methodists - they took over and their numbers increased four fold in 35 yrs. Their churches outnumbered the Anglican Church 7 to 5.

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The Political System in late 18th century

- George III had been on the throne for 20 years and would not die till 1820.

- He had, had much power in the beginning of his eign but this was under threat, from the loss of the American Colonies.  The monarch was now just one part of the political system and not necessarily the most important.

- The house of commons was becoming more important than the Lords as it's consent was necessary for any legislation concerned with raising money.

- Political Parties were not as formal as now, but 3 main ones had appeared by this stage:

1. Tories - means people who supported King of Cof E, they had more traditional views and were reluctant about reform and change.

2. Whigs - supporters of religious liberty and Parliament, they were for modernising and were more open to reform.

3. Radicals - believed in maing major reforms to get to the root of problems, therefore wanted bg changes to system of electing MPs, they were most open to reform and had "crazy" ideas.

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The Voting System

- Fewer than half a million people had the vote - 11% of adult men.

- Decisions on who could vote, were largely based on property ownership -  it was felt that landowners had a stake in the country and it would be foolish to give the vote to the uneducated masses.

- Had not kept up with Industrial Revolution - with more people moving to B'ham, Leeds, Manchester and Bradford, they had NO MPs!

- Smaller, less important towns had many MPs and so could be easily persuaded and bribed to vote for a certain person especially as voting was done publically. (Rotten and Pocket boroughs).

- Pitt tried to abolish 36 of smallest boroughs but even this moderate reform was rejected by Parliament.

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