Pitt to Peel

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Pitt's Reforms 1783-93


  • Smuggling - extended rights to stop and search cargo, greater penalties, made smuggling more risky and less attractive, reduced debt
  • Taxation - more efficiently collected, luxury goods (poor not overburdened), unpopular: window, coal, cotton, linen (halted industry)
  • Sinking Fund - 6 commissioners, annually paid into, £10 million reduction in debt


  • Sinecures and Placemen - disappeared within 20 years, reduced waste in government, 
  • Treasury Committee 1875 - treasury control increased efficiency, oversaw public expenditure, 
  • Central Stationary Office 1787 - stationary supply, cut deficit
  • Consolidated Funds Act 1787 - one account, bid for money


  • USA: threat to commercial supremacy, Committee of Trade rejected barriers, Navigation Acts protected British shipping from foreign competition, imports/exports carried by British ships
  • Europe: low tariffs, Eden Treaty, ended diplomatic isolation
  • East India: trade improved, East India Bill (gave Britain more power), helped by end of tea smuggling
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Pitt's Repression - 1789-1801

  • French Revolution: demands for reform
  • War with France: reduced radical writings (Paine and Burke), Britain prosperous, economy, patriotism, one cause
  • Impact of APLP and loyalist societies
  • Weakness of corresponding societies: middle class leaders, lack of unity, low membership, incidents divided
  • Royal proclamation about Seditious Writings 1782
  • Repression: Suspension of Habeus Corpus (twice), Treasonable Practices Act, Unlawful Oaths Act, Seditious Meetings Act, 'reign of terror
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Liverpool's Repression - 1812-22


  • Luddites 1811-16
  • Corn Laws 1815
  • Income Tax repealed 1816


  • Spa Fields Riot 1816
  • March of the Blanketeers 1817
  • Pentrich Rising 1817
  • Peterloo Massacre 1819


  • Cato Street Conspiracy 1820
  • Queen Caroline Affair 1820-21
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Liberal Tories - 1822-30

Social: (moderately liberal - didn't do much)

  • Penal Code
  • Gaols Act
  • Metropolitan Police 

Economic: (liberal)

  • Free trade
  • Corn Laws Modified - sliding scale 1828
  • Navigation Act (relaxation of)

Political: (not liberal - no liberal intent)

  • Catholic Emancipation 1829
  • Repeal of Test and Corporations Acts

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The Great Reform Act - 1832

Reasons for reform: Expand/Secure Whig Power, Ideology/keep promises, Popular Discontent


  • 56 rotten boroughs and 111 MPs lost their representation 
  • 44 seats given to 22 large towns including Manchester, Leeds and London Metropolitan Districts
  • 21 smaller towns given one MP each 
  • franchise given to 40 shilling free-holders and £10 copy-holders
  • no secret ballot 


  • confined industrial interests within urban constituencies
  • divided opinion amonst w/c 'great betrayal' 
  • growth of local party association 
  • Tony Carlton Club and Whig Reform Club
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Whig Reforms - 1830-41

Earl Grey: 

  • Great Reform Act 1832
  • Abolition of Slavery 1833
  • Factory Act 1833
  • First Education Grant 1834 
  • Introduced the Poor Law Amendment Act 1835


  • Municipal Corporation (elected councils) 1836
  • Compulsory registration of births, deaths, marriages
  • Tithe Commutation Act 1838 (tax to Church)
  • Penny Post 1840
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1841 Election

Reasons for Whig Failure:

  • no new ideas
  • supporters were disappointed by the slow pace of reform (Poor Law)
  • Chartism 
  • economic depression in the early 1840s

Reasons for Conservative Victory:

  • majority support 
  • economic protection of the landed interest
  • defence of the Church 
  • scared Whigs would modify the Corn Laws
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Peel in Opposition - 1832-41

  • Carlton Club and FR Bonham 1832
  • Peel's 100 Day Ministry
  • Tamworth Manifesto
  • Renaming of Tory Party - Conservatives 
  • Rebranding the Tory Party (stood for: moderate reform etc.)
  • Responsible opposition 
  • Lichfield Compact (Irish, Whigs and Radicals and issue of Irish church revenue)
  • Ecclesiastical Commission set up by Peel so the Church of England could reform itself
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Repeal of the Corn Laws and ACLL - 1845-46

Why did Peel repeal the Corn Laws? Irish Famine, ACLL, Peel's Ideology

  • Peel's conversion to freer trade (Huskisson)
  • Arguments for repeal of Corn Laws: population growth, Irish Famine, ACLL (did not want to be seen as giving in to political pressure)
  • Arguments for the Corn Laws: ensured stable prices, prevented fluctuations, protection of goods
  • Formation of the ACLL: Cobden and Bright, aimed for total abolition of Corn Laws, propanganda and large-scale mass meetings, gained popular support 
  • Irish Famine - main reason for the repal of Corn Laws (CL was a barrier to the provision of food to the Irish and needed to be removed)
  • Chartists: demanded political reform
  • Comparison of ACLL and Chartists: ACLL specified aimes, where Chartists demanded many changes
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Peel's Economic Policies - 1841-46

  • Problems for Peel: deficit of £2m, high rate of unemployment, economic slump, Chartists and ACLL
  • Economic liberalism - self-interest 
  • Trickle down effect - that social problems would sort themselves out when the economy is prosperous
  • 1842 Budget - Introduced income tax 
  • 1845 Budget - abolished all export duties
  • Social reform: (Ashley implimented these on Peel's behalf) Factory Act and Mines Act - improving conditions and reducing working hours/exploitation of women and children, Peel ignore public health issues however (rejected advice given by a commission)
  • Commercial legislations: Bank Charter Act and Companies Act - improved businesses, reduced fraud and corruption, confidence restored and economic improvements visible
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Peel's Irish Policies - 1841-46

  • Peel's attitude to Ireland: wanted to reform economy (weak), politics (Act of Union 1800) and religion (willing to put the maintain of law and order above the maintain of protestant constitution - Catholic Emancipation)
  • Attitudes of Conservatives: Church of England, moderate reform, law and order, protecting landed interests, support of the monarchy 
  • Catholic Emancipation 1829 (O'Connell)
  • Devon Commission 1843 (not passed)
  • Irish Colleges Bill 1844
  • Charitable Bequests Act 1844 
  • Maynooth Grant 1845
  • Irish Arms Act 1845
  • Clontarff Meeting (O'Connell unsuccessful and arrested)
  • Importance of Ireland: wrecked Peel's career, exposed a divided party, the Irish famine
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This is amazingly useful! I find this side of my course quite hard and it's great to have all the information simplified. Thank you so much!

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