Why did Liverpool adopt a policy of repression 1812-1822?

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  • Created by: ktommo
  • Created on: 16-05-17 12:37

Fear of Revolution

Reason

  • Liverpool had witnessed the outbreak of the French Revolution in 1789
  • Liverpool's Government feared a revolution situation may develop
  • Cato Street conspiracy 1820

However

  • There was no serious threat of a revolutionary situation in 1812-22
  • There was no active revolutionary group ready to take over
  • There was no loss of nerve on the part of the ruiling elite
  • The army remained loyal
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Increasing Radical Activity

Reason

  • Spread of radical literature and ideas through the radical press
  • Fear of the spread of radical and revolutionary ideas amongst the working class
  • Radical activity, protests and riots throughout the period

However

  • Radical activity was not revolutionary
  • In many cases the protests simply wanted to highlight their plight through marches and petitions
  • Radicals were reformists rather than revolutionary
  • Radicals were divided and did not constitute a coherent group
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Not Concerned With Solving Causes

Reason

  • Government's main focus was maintaining law and order
  • No professional police force, only use of spies, informers, agent provocateurs and army. This was to maintian law and order
  • Government wanted to show the power of the state to deter protestors from radical or revolutionary ideas

However

  • The government mistook anger over poverty and living conditions for revolutionary activity
  • The government acted accordingly considering the number, scope and complexity of promblems it faced
  • The government had few law and order options available to it
  • The government deployed the army effectively in troubled areas
  • Use of agent provocateurs to disrupt movements, it was a preventative measure
  • When the economy improved the Government did introduce some reforms
  • Early 19th century governments didn't have the resources or organization to deal with hunger, poverty and unemployment
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Maintain Status Quo

Reason

  • Protect the dominance of the aristocracy and the status quo
  • Prevent any Parliamentary Reform
  • Middle Class sided with the aristocracy against the working class

However

  • This was a wider strategy adopted by the Tory Party at the time and not just a repsonse to Post War Distress and Discontent
  • Many of the measures taken by the government were temporary for the situation and not intended to be permanent changes to laws of the country
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Following Example Set By Pitt

Reason

  • Liverpool had adopted a policy of repression that had worked for Pitt the Younger in the 1790s

However

  • Lack of originality
  • Liverpool simply maintained many of Pitt's repressive policies at the end of the war e.g. Combination Acts 1799/1800
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