Phase 3: The break-up of the Tory party (1827-1830).

  • Weak leadership.
  • Divisions.
  • Policy differences.
  • Catholic Emancipation (1829).

Why did the Tory party fall apart in 1829?

Weak leadership.

  • The resignation of Lord Liverpool in March 1827 aged 57 having stroke caused problems, the only cabinet member to keep divided party together due to leadership skills and personality.
  • Goderich was unable to form a cabinet and in desperation, the king asked Wellington to form a government. He fell out with the Liberal Tories.
  • Liverpool's failure to establish a clear successor/to more to solve divisions made situation worse.
  • The death of George IV, June 1830 caused a general election, they lost.

Policy differences.

  • Canning was tactless.
  • Goderich is regarded as the worst Prime Minister of the century.
  • Wellington was an army man who expected obedience.
  • Parliamentary reform caused clashes in May 1828 between Huskisson and Wellington over the distribution of seats from corrupt boroughs.
  • Wellington was not prepared to consider Parliamentary reform.
  • The Corn laws: Liberal Tories wanted to relax them with a sliding scale but Wellington blocked it, but later introduced by him as PM.
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  • Party bitterly divided, old disputes resurfaced once Liverpool had left. 
  • Peel and Wellington along with five others resigned when Canning was made Prime Minister as they disagreed with his foreign policy and the fact that he supported Catholic Emancipation.

1829: Catholic Emancipation.

  • Wellington was reluctantly forced into agreeing to it.
  • Daniel O'Connell, a Catholic, had won the bye-election for County Clare but as a Catholc was unable to take his seat in parliament. There was a fear that other catholics would do the same in the next election and then set up their own parliament, possibly leading to a break-up of the Union.
  • Wellington bullied the House of Lords into passing the act. The protestant Tories never forgave him for this, they saw it as a 'great betrayal'. He lost the support of the Ultra-Tories, who undermined Canning & took revenge on Wellington after Catholic Emancipation.
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1831 Election: Why did the Tory party lose?

  • They were out of time with the growing demand for reform.
  • The impact if the 1830 revolution in France.
  • Economic factors (slump hitting agriculture and industry, irregular employment, low wages, new machinery, income tax).
  • Earl Grey's leadership.
  • Divisions and policy differences within the Tory party.

Reasons for riots and violence 1830-1832.

  • Swing riots due to poor harvests. (Widespread outbreak of burning of hayricks and barns, attacks on parsons and the smashing of mill machinery).
  • Agrarian discontent mixed with political concerns.
  • Middle classes wanted more political involvement.
  • Working class discontent.
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Castlereagh & Canning


  • Both agreed that intervention in a state's government was morally wrong.
  • Both distrusted Russia and were keen to stop French involvement in Spain.
  • Both wanted to preserve Turkish independence in Eastern question, to prevent Russian expansion.
  • Both supported ending slave trade.
  • Both believed in maintaining balance of power.


  • Canning wasn't as enthusiastic as Castlereagh about Congress System.
  • Canning saw the need to explain and defend views, Castlereagh didn't.
  • Different context; Castlereagh dealt with aftermath of war and was used to co-operating with other nations to defeat Napoleon. Canning had no personal contacts and had more opportunist and independent approach
  • Castlereagh & Metternich had good working relationship unlike Canning.
  • Castlereagh was keen to keep peace with America. Canning was prepared to discredit America and had a less friendly relationship (Monroe Doctrine).
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