Liberal Tory reforms

Reforms and the downfall of the Tories.

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  • Created on: 01-01-13 13:50

Reforms 1822-30

- Import duties were reduced: by varing amounts on raw materials such as textiles, tea, coffee, wine, spirits and many others.

- Removed restrictions on the trade of Britain's colonies: this meant they could now trade directly with foreign countries, to encourage trade with the British Empire.

- Navigation Laws modified: Other nation's ships could dock in Britain.

- Corn Law sliding scale: No duty on imported wheat if British wheat was selling at over 73s a quarter.


- Lower import and export duties meant cheaper goods, which in turn meant lower prices.

- British Trade and shipping grew steadily

- Less incentive for smuggling.

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Trade Union legislation 1822-30

- Trade Unions legalised in 1824!

- Effects of legalisation:

     - 100's of trade unions emerged from the background and 100's of new ones formed too. 

     - This lead to a wave of strikes for higher wages.

- Amending Act 1825

     - Permitted trade unions to exist for the purpose of negotiating about wages and hours of work.

     - But not allowed to 'molest or obstruct' so this made it difficult to conduct strikes.

     - However it was still a good step forward for trade unions.

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Peel's Law an Order

- Reform of the system of punishments:

     - Death penalty abolished for most crimes.

     - Government stopped using spies.

     - Still sent criminals to Australia.

- Jails Act:

     - Removed some of the worst abuses from the prison.

     - Magistrates had to inspect prisons 3 times a 1/4.

     - Women were looked after by wmen and prisoners had education, doctors and chaplains.

- Metropolitan Police Act 1829:

     - London Police force, this dramatically reduced crimes rates.

     - Led smaller towns to make a police force.

     - Resented but gained respect.

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Was Liverpool a good prime minster?

- Evidence he was not:

     - Colleagues of Liverpool were critical of hisd policies, saying he caused unrest by such masures as the intro of Corn Laws and the repel of Income Tax.

    - It was thought by some that the governemnt ignored the wishes of the public.

    - Also some thought Liverpool was lacking the intellectual qualities of Peel and the charisma and popular appeal of Canning.

     - He refused to tolerate any major reform, including Catholic Emancipation, which he knew would lead to a split in the Tory party.

- Evidence he was:

     - He carried out his work with quiet efficiency and kept his more hot-headed colleagues under 'the umbrella' of the Tory party.  This gained him popularity within the party, which meant his governemnt were happy to go down with him over such things as the Queen Caroline affair.

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a good prime minister? Continued...

- Evidence to support he was:

     - Income Tax reform was forced on him from backbenchers in the Commons.

     - He was a firm and enthusiasic supporter of free trade.

     - The Napoleonic war was won during his reign.

     - After his death in 1828, the Tory party had a massive split and snowballed into a considerable period of political wilderness.

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Downfall of the Tories

- Leadership problems:

Three PM's in quick succession.

     - Canning: Liked by the people and the Whigs, but disliked by many of his own party as he supported Catholic Emancipation and was seen as an arrogant self pulicist.  Reigned from April 1827 to August 1827.

     - Robinson then Lord Goderich: He was weak and easily bullied and lacked political skills and so lost control of his ministers.  He resigned within a few months.

     - Duke of Wellington: Very strong man, but from his experience in the army, he was prone to obedience - he found constant Cabinet arguments tiresome.  He was also said to be tactless and outspoken.  He reigned from 1827-1830.

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Dowfall of the Tories continued...Catholic Emancip

Crisis in Ireland over Catholic Emancipation

- 90% of Irish people were Catholic but the majority of people in power with Protestant.

-  Catholics had the vote but could not run for parliament.

Daniel O'Connell and the Catholic Association

- Hoped to get Union dissolved and Irish parliament restored.

- Their methods were non-violent.

- At the general election, they supported protestant candidates who pledged to vote for Catholic Emancipation.

County Clare byelection 1828

- Vesey Fitzgerald standing for re-election

- O'Connell stood against him and won, which made Catholics happy they had won seats in the next elections.

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Catholic Emancipation continued....

Danger of Civil War

- There was possibility of violence and even civil war if O'Connell and other future MPs were debarred from Westminster.

Wellington and Peel pass Catholic Emancipation 1829

- Bitter opponents of Catholic Emancipation on the basis it would break the England/Ireland bond.

- Wellington persuaded rest of the cabinet to pass Catholic Emancipation.

Impact on the Tory government

- Row in the party as 'Ultra' Tories hated and reform especially, Catholic Emancipation.

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The Swing Riots 1830-31

- Farmworkers, particularly in rural partsd of the South and East, and East Anglia, attacked the property of wealthy faremers and clergy.


- Long term effects of enclosure; poor harvests and subsequent high bread prices, low wages and high unemployment, resentment against tithes, cuts in help for poorer parishoners and the invesntion of threshing machines.

- The reasons for richer farm owners could be explained in terms of; Agri farmworkers wanted to destory machines as they were taking away jobs, this was why a lot of protest included arson, attacks on farm buildings, and intimidation such as letters send to rich landowners threatening violence if machines not removed.


- In some cases, these methods worked- threshing machines were removed or wages were increased, but these were usually only temporary to stop the attacks.

- Harsh methods were also used, nearly 20,000 protesters were tried in special courts and 19 were hanged, 600 imprisoned and another 500 transported.  By 1831 order was beginning to be restored.

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Effects of the Swing Riots

- Only occassional achievements were made in terms of their working conditions.

- However, Swing Riots increased calls for change and reform.

- Some Whigs argued that to stop a full scale revolution, change needed to be made such as widening the vote.

- This was slightly misguided as rioters probably only wanted to gain their jobs back.

- It made the Tories look like they were out of touch with the people and reform, unable to run the country properly and unable to deal with the country's economic downturn.

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Tories' Final Crisis

After the death of George IV in June 1830, and election was held to detirmine the new monarch.  Wellington remained Prime Minister.

- Wellington harshly misjudged his governemnt when in his opening speech basically said " I don't think we need voting reform, all is good and always will be".  Soon afterwards he was voted out by a mixture of Whigs and Radicals.

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Why did the Tory government collapse between 1827-

Economic Slump

- Farm albourer riots (Swing Riots)

- Convinced Whigs reform was needed.

Swing Riots

- Increased calls for reform, Whigs said reform needed to stop revolution.

- Added to impression Tories were out of touch.

Revival of demand for reform and death of George IV

- Wellngton's refusal for reform was his downfall and so outvoted by Whigs in 1830.

- Death came at the wrong time, when Tories already not doing well.

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Why did the Tory governement collapse continued...

Revolutions in France and Belgium

- Poor harvest which lead to high bread prices caused revolution which could spread into Britain.

Leadership Problems

- Liverpool resigned, he was the only one who could keep peace within the Tory party.

- Old squabbles re-emerged.

- Three replacments in a short period of time.

Catholic Emancipation

- Tories fall out over it.

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