Protest and Repression 1815 - 1821

Lord Liverpool and his cabinet and Discontent

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  • Created on: 31-12-12 15:42

Lord Liverpool

- Reigned for 15 years, the longest reigning PM in the 19th and 20th centuries.

- There were mixed emotions about him, some liked him as a PM, others didn't.

- (see booklet 2, pgs 2-3 for sources)

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Were the government well equippd to deal with the

- More reasons to support the government were poorly-equipped to deal with the problems: -

         - The Tories were repressive and Vansittart lacked grasp of his subject.

         - Some of the cabinet had bad manners and weren't very good at public speaking.

         - Their role in helping the public was limited as the matters were outside the scope of the government.

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Reasons for discontent in 1815

- The next 5 years was the closest Britain had ever come to revolution, except the Civil War.

- Economic after effects:-

     - Fall in corn prices because of overproduction due to extra cultivation during the war.  this lead to bankrupt farmers.

     - Corn could now be imported again.

     - Rich farmers layed off farm labourers.

     - Industrial slump as ther countries were no longer buying araments and uniforms of Britain.

     - Tariffs - these made it expensive to buy from Britain, therefore no one did!

     - Ex-soldiers now needed jobs after coming back from the war.

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Reasons for discontent in 1815 continued...

- Governemnt policy making things worse:-

     - Cobinations laws made trade unions ilegal, this aroused resentment.

     - Corns laws said that Britain could not import corn until their corn prices were up, so for the unemployed, this was diasterous!

     - Tories were acused of just looking after themselves.

     - Income tax was abolished which was good for the rich, but not for the poor!

     - The government responded to many of the problems with repression, this was not a good move!

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The Radicals

- They belived in radical change and were very in favour of voting reforms.

- Consisted of four main groups:

     - Intellectuals: Followers of Tom Paine, they belived all men had a right to vote and once this was achieved it would lead to more benefits, such as redistribution of wealth, oap, free education.

     - Gentlemen reformers: Henry Hunt was a big supporter.  This was open to any man who could pay 1p a week subscription.  they published leaflets and other propaganda promoting universal suffrage.

     - Middle class men: most m/c men opposed radicalism but the few who did published leaflets, newspapers etc. the government tried to stop them with stamp duty, but this didnt have much effect.

     - The masses: The working classes, it was their involvemtn that alarmed the government.  bUt some historians disagree about the motivation of the working class.  some see it as a response to economic hardship and toher see a new form of working class emerging. (a politically aware one).

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Government policy in response to unrest 1815-20

- Spies and informers: pretended to be Radicals, went to meetings and met with reformers, found out and reported information to Lord Sidmouth.  Encouraged reformers to take violent action and so they were arrested.

- Game law: made poaching and possession of rabbit catching nets punishable for 7 years.  Was supposed to stop poaching after Corn Laws, but didnt really work as juries were reluctant to convict people.

- Suspension of Habeus Corpus: Spa fields that prompted the law, meetings that were a threat to the law (planned violence against them) were banned.

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The Six Acts

The government's reply to Peterloo and it was the most drastic measures taken so far...

- Magistrates could search houses without warrants for firearms.

- Magistrates could search houss without a warrant for seditious literature.

- Drilling and military training by private individuals was banned.

- Only people from their own parish could attend political meetings, this was to try and avoid huge gatherings.

- Magistrates could trial people immediately, without having to wait for the approval of the judge or jury.

- Stamp Duty was increased to stop the poor buying radical papers, it also made it exensive to circulate them.  An example is "Cobett's political register".

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