Conservatives 1780-1886

  • Created by: Katie
  • Created on: 28-05-13 11:15


1841- Peel faced many problems whilst being Prime Minister

  • Economic Slump
  • Bad working/living conditions
  • Violence from chartists
  • Pressure from the Anti-Corn Law League (ACLL). After much protest from the ACLL and the famine in Ireland, Peel decided to repeal the Corn Laws. Tory landowners and 2/3rd of the party were against the repeal as they believed it would damaged argiculture and profits by having cheap foreign corn.

Whig support helped Peel to repeal the Corn Laws

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Peel's early career

  • Peel set up the Irist Constabulary after catholics protested against the Act of Union
  • He became HOme Secretary in 1822
  • He was responsible for the Penal Code Reofm 
  • Set up the Metropolitan Police Act 1829.

What Peel did for the conservative Party

Peel gave the Conservative Party a new image. The Tamworth Manifesto was introduced in 1834, and was addressed to the people of Tamworth which he represented in Parliament. 

The manifesto stated that although Peel had previously opposed the 1832 Reform Act, he now accepted it as a 'final and irrevocable settlement of a great constitutional question.'

It also stated that Peel was prepared to introduce moderate reforms whenever there was a 'genuine need for it.' It also said that Peel wanted to preserve all the good things in the British system which were later referred to 'conservative princples.' It formalised the new party programme, which was midway between the Old Tories and the Radicals.

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Conservatives cont.

Peel gained support from moderate people of all classes, espeically middle class businessmen and industrialists, who were neglected by the Whigs. Peel came from a middle class family, which also aided sucess.

Conservative clubs were set up, therefore they were more highly developed than the Whigs.

1841- The conservatives win the election with a majority of 76.

Why did the Whigs lose?

The Whigs showed a lack of understanding to the causes of unemployment, so fell back on repressions. (Swing Riots 1830-31)

They believed reform was not necessary due to Melbournes attitude. They did nothing to improve working/living conditions.

They rejected the Chartist petition in 1839, which made public opinion worse after the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834. O'Connor persuaded many chartists to vote for the Tory Party, as a petition against the Whig Poor Law- negative voting.

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Peel and the economy

Norman Gash says Peel should be remembered and deserves the founder of New Conservatism.

Economic Problems in 1841:

  • Exports had fallen sharply --> Industrial Slump
  • Industry was stagnating --> unable to get out of slump
  • Poor harvest since 1837 --> kept bread prices high.

Peel's solutions

  • He took steps towards free trade- He came to believe that tariffs were stifling British Industry, due to the influence of the Manchester School (Northern Industrialists). He also believed that tariffs made raw materials (wool, cotton, iron ore) more expensive- production costs were too high. The tariffs made food more expensive, due to the duty of corn, which kept bread prices high. The removal of duties would make the list of export goods abroad cheaper, and stimulate trade at home, "making the cost of living cheaper." Peel said "we must make this country for living and induce people to remain and settle here. Enable them to consume more by having more to spend."
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Peel and the economy cont.

By 1845: duties on over 600 articles had been removed completely and duties on about 500 others had been greatly reduced.

They helped bring trade revivals, stimulate the industry in Britain- unemployment fell and food was cheaper, which made way for the mid victiorian economic boom which lasted until 1873.

  • Income tax was reintroduced- This was abolished by the Tories in 1814, but brought in by Peel as a temporary measure to make up for the loss of income. This was so profitable that Peel renewed it for another 3 years: Peel managed to turn the Whigs "£2million defecit into a healthy surplus.
  • Bank Charter Act 1841: New banks= no notes, existing banks= limited use of notes 3 months before the passing of the act. If 2 banks joined, they would lose the rights to issue notes, Bank of England could issue notes up ot £14million. Any more was covered by gold reserves.
  • Companies Act 1844: no previous restrictions on the formation of new companies. Companies now had to be officially registered.
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Peel and social reform

Peel believed it was better to wait for his economic policies to go through, thus giving people more money to spend by increasing employment. He also believed he would lose the support of many middle class business men if eh tried to improve working conditions and working hours. 

After 1842: Unemployment reached a new high and troops had to be sent in to deal with teh Chartist revolt, there became a new urgency.

  • Mines Act 1842: forbade woman and girls employment undergroun and boys aged ten and under, one inspector =inadequate.
  • Factory Act 1844: Peel was not in favour of 10 hour day: Children could start work at theage of 8 (prev. 9), children ages 8-13 limited to 12 hr day, females 13+ limited to 12 hr day, dangerous machinery was to be fenced off and meals eaten separately. 


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Peel and Ireland

O'Connell wanted to force the British to repeal the Act of Union. He began addressing large crowds, claiming that within a year the Act of Union would be cancelled. Peel believed, rightly, that Ireladn was not on the brink of civil war. He said that the Act of Union would NEVER be cancelled and any rebellion crushed. 

O'Connell was arrested and tried for conspiracy. His influence gradually declined and the 'Young Ireland' began to take over. O'Connell died in 1847.

Peel tried to gain the support of Catholics, by increasing the grant to Maynooth College form £9000 to £26000. This cause hositlity for most supporters of Protestants, and many of the Tories rejected this.

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The Anti-Corn Law League

Started because corn prices were too high. The organistaion developed in Manchester, major distress area and it was formed among manufacturers and business men. 

Reasons for keeeping the corn laws:

a) Foreign corn would ruin British famers= mass unemployment among farm labourers, who would migrate to towns, adding to the existing problme of overcrowding.

b) Britain would be dependent on foreign corn, which could be cut off in war time.

c) The whole thing was 'selflish' middle class plot: they only wanted cheaper bread to reduce wages.

What the League did

a) used propaganda 'The Anti Bread Circular' and gave millions of leaflets-every elector had a copy of league literature. 

b) mass meetings- headquaters set up in London who organised no less than 136 meetings a year.

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The Anti-Corn Law League cont.

c) fundraising- £50,000 raised in 1843

d) won support of O'Connell, which boosted popularity of league in Ireland.

e) Petition to Parliament- useless. They put forward MPs to Paliament.

Stages in repeal

1) Peel slightly reduced import duties on corn.

2)1842-1845, Peel decided the corn laws were not serving any useful purpose. The problem= pledged to keep corn laws, if any action was taken quickly, would infuriate landwoners and split the party again.

3)After potatoe rop ruined by blight in Ireland + England and corn harvest was poor, Peel told party that they had to go. Peel resigned in 1845, after cabinet opposed the idea.

4) A repeal Bill caused much deabte. 2/3 party revolted against him. Disraeli/Bentick accused Peel of breaking his promises, and splitting his party again.

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The Anti-Corn Law League cont.(3)

5) Peel resigned after the Coercion Bill was defeated.

Effects of repeal

1) No dramatic fall on wheat prices + no vast inflow of European wheat. Economists say the repeal kept wheat prices steady. when world prices rose.

2) Famers did not suffer straight away- developed better methods which helped increased yield per acre, not until 70s farmers began to become competitive with imports from America.

3) Did not seem to help Irish signficantly- famine continued until 1848, whenever there was a good harvest. Problems made worse by cholera which broke out in 1846.

4)Destroyed Peel and split the party. However landowners were still dominant group in Parliament. 

ACLL successful? They concentrated on one aim. They had outstanding leaders(Cobden +Bright) who indirectly convinced Peel that the Corn Laws should go. The Irish famine helped hurry the process of the repeal.

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Was Peel a great Statesman?

Bagehot says that he borrowed others ideas. He began opposing measures which were later his greatest achievements (Catholic Emancipation)

Clark states 'there was a lack of vision in Peel.'

Gash 'more than any other, he was an architect of early victorian age' 

Peel believed that the national interest was more important than the party.

When he died the public felt that they had lost a brilliant politican.

Bed chamber crisis is an example of Peel's political intelligence by forcing Melbourne to stay in office and take take blame for the countrys mishappenings, Peel was seen as great and won the majority vote.

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Disraeli Rule 1846-1867 (First ministry)

After repeal of corn laws, the conservative party lost most experienced parliamentary office holders. The Peelites moved slowly towards the Liberal Party. 

Leadership (1846-1852)

1850-Disraeli had success when he introduced a bill to ease the agricultural suffering.

1858- Disraeli's opportunism which helped bring down Palmerston's ministry by supporting radical motion condemning the gov'ts conspiracy to Murder Bill

Derby's administration(Disraeli was Chancellor of Exchequer)

-Bill which allowed Jews to sit in the HofL

-Disraeli's first budget in 1859 intended to reduce income tax, then abolish it by 1860- was not carried out.

-He introduced the Conservatives' Parliamentary Reofrm Bill 1859 led to the defeat of the Conservatives.

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Demand for Parliamentary Reform

a) population incraesed from 24 milion to 1831 to 29 million in 1841. The vast majority were unable to vote, especially the working class. Extensions of the vote + redistribution of seats was seen as necessary. 

b) The radicals kept a constant pressure for reform. Bright argued that ordinary people should be given a share in controlling their own fortunes.

c) Trade Unions wanted to improve standards for the workers and to reform parliament by legal means. 

d) American civil war- external factor, caused hardship and unemployment during 1861-1862. The workers also supporteds Unions ( North America) in their abolition of slavery. Showed working class maturity, leading to the belief that they should be able to vote.

e) Gladstone's approval of the working class majority led him to say "a shame and a scandal that bodies of men such as these should be excluded from the parliamentary franchise." The death of Palmeston removed the obstical to reform in 1845.

f) Disraeli was even prepared to introduce minor reform, provided it did not go too far; if it was inevitable, the conservatives ought to jump in and take credit for it.

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Stages of Reform

Liberal- Russell/Gladstone intoduce moderate reform bill in 1866, increase the franchise by giving vote in boroughs to householders paying £7 a year rent (not£10) + countries for tenant paying £14 a year (not£50).

Opposition from:

a) conservatives: Bill went too far. The country should not be regarded as equal, the weathly should have more votes than the poor.

b) sections of liberals(Rober Lowe): working class were still ignorant of politics, therefore incapable of deciding who to vote for= more bribery.

Opposition introduced reform amendments which were passed by the Commons= Russels resignation

Pressure mounts- the Conservatives welcomed with immediate action for reform. Economic crisis 1866, several companies went Bankrupt +widespread unemployment.

Disraeli introduced a radical reform bill, and accepted amendments from Liberal. It became law in August 1867 and known as the Second Reform Act.

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Terms of the Bill

1) Boroughs- vote given to all households who paid rates, as long as they had lived in their house a year. Lodgers who paid £10 a year had vote, lost 1 MP if population under 10,000. Lost 45 seats, leaving a redistribution of seats, many of those (25) given to county.

2) Counties- all rate payers paying £12 a year given vote + copyholders + leaseholders paying £5 a year. 

3) Franchise in Scotland matched English pattern- 7 seats transferred from England to Scotland.

4) Irish boroughs- vote given to £4 payers of rates.

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Effects of the Bill

-Increased size of electorate- new voters were industrial workers in towns, first time to be promoting democracy in bouroughs. 

-agricultural labours +miners living in rural pit villages had no vote, due to high voting qualifications- desisgned to preserve the power of wealthy farmers and landowners.

-still no secret ballot- working class borough voters swayed to vote for their employers and landlords.

-The South and East were over represented compared with the industrial Midlands and the North. 

Long term consequences 

-too many voters to bribe= politicians had to justify their policies which changed the way an election campaign was dealt with.

-party organisations developed at nation and constituency levels, to whip up support at election times and between elections.

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Liberals Victory 1868

-Vigorous election campaign, speaking all over the country 

-won middle/working class Nonconformist support by announcing the intention to disestablish the Anglican Church in Ireland

- Many of those who had been enfranchised had not registered- therefore were unable to vote in the General Election.

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Disraeli's Second Ministry 1874-1880

Tory Democracy 

-Believed value in privelege and tradition= wanted to preserve the power of established institutions (Anglican Church Monarchy) They would use their power for the good of the country

-Help working people- Paternalistic approach, looking after the poor like a father, looking after children, became known as 'one nation Toryism'

-Social reform= alliance with priveleged classes + mass population.

-The party had to adapt itself to chamge with the new democratic and Industrial age.

-Imperialism was a new conservative theme, + wanted to develop the empire as a powerful economic and political union, under the monarchy.

What did Disraeli do for working class?

-Public Health Act 1875- Due to HS R.A.Cross- one of the greatest pieces of legislation in the 19thC. Local authorities had to ensure there was a good water supply, drainage and sewage disposal + contaminated food had to be found, confiscated + destroyed.

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Disraeli's Second Ministry 1874-1880 cont.

-Artisan Dwelling Act 1875 dealt with slum housing. Authorities were given the power to buy, demolish and rebuild houses into healthy accomodation- many Tories thought it was an invasion of landlords rights.

-The scale of Food and Drugs Act 1875 laid down regulations about the preparations and adulferation of food.

-The Enclosures Act 1876 protected the publics right to use common pastures. Land around cities were protected from development.

-It was made illegal to tip industiral waste 1876 into the rivers. Liquid waste was allowed as long as it was not poisonous.

-The Factory Act 1874. Reduced the working day to ten hours, no child to be employed until they were 10 and young people could not work full time until they were 14. 

-Factory and Workshops Act 1878 government were made respoinsible for inspecting workshops. Built on 1867 act where authorites were reponsible for Act.

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Disraeli's Second Ministry 1874-1880 (3)

-The Conspiracy and Protection of Property Act 1875 made peaceful picketing legal and unions were able to work as a group to do whatever actions an individual was permitted to take in order to support their case.

-The Employers and Workmen Act 1876- Both employer and worker now on equal fooitng in case of breach of contract. Both penalities were now treated as civil offences.

The two above were vitally important in developing and recognising tade unions as an acceptable/respectable bodies.

Disraeli said "these laws" will gain and reatin for the conservatives the lasting affection of the working classes.

Education Act 1876 School attendecne committes were set up to encourage as many children as possible to take advantage of educational oppurtunites, Parents responsible in ensuring their children had basic education, and committeies would help parents who were too poor to pay for basic education. THIS WAS NOT COMPULSORY.

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Disraeli's Second Ministry 1874-1880 (4)

-Merchant Shipping Act 1876- A line was painted at the side of every ship in order tp prevent over loading. However shipowners were able to paint the line whereever they wanted too. More ot do with Samual Pumsou (uguaran campainger)

Imperialism + Disraeli

Imperialism is the exploitation of a weaker power by a stronger power.

-Britain should make use of their overseas possessions- "courage, discipline, pateince, reverence for public law, and respect for natonal rights"

-Military help- Britain overseas possessions should be called upon for military help.

-Egypt suez canal shares 1875- Strong possibility that the French would buy the shares, leading to Frech control over the canal. Disraeli bought the shares, after consulting the cabinet. Example of oppurtuinism. Also, the shorter trade route to India had been safeguarded. 

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Disraeli's Second Ministry 1874-1880 (4)

-Merchant Shipping Act 1876- A line was painted at the side of every ship in order tp prevent over loading. However shipowners were able to paint the line whereever they wanted too. More ot do with Samual Pumsou (uguaran campainger)

Imperialism + Disraeli

Imperialism is the domination and exploitation of a weaker power by a stronger power.

-Britain should make use of their overseas possessions- "courage, discipline, pateince, reverence for public law, and respect for natonal rights"

-Military help- Britain overseas possessions should be called upon for military help.

-Egypt suez canal shares 1875- Strong possibility that the French would buy the shares, leading to Frech control over the canal. Disraeli bought the shares, after consulting the cabinet. Example of oppurtuinism. Also, the shorter trade route to India had been safeguarded. 

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Imperalism + Disraeli

India- Victoria becames Empress 1876- Not Disraeli's idea! Royal Titles Act. Duty passed for parliament, Good reasons to take the title.

a) showed the British had the intention of staying in India.

b) warn off the Russians, who were extending their influence in Persia and Afghanistan.

-South Africa- Zulu war 1879- It was forced upon Disraeli by the men on the spot! The results were indirectly Disraeli's fault for appointing Sir Bartle, who disobeyed orders and launded an invasion on Zululand.

-Second + Third Afghanistan Wars 1878-1880- They looked on Afghan as a state to protect India from Russian intentions, The new Amir remained friendly to Britain for the next 20 yaers and the Russians retained from interfering in Afghanistan again. Military efficiency had made a deep impression in both Afghanistan and Russia.

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Eastern Question

1870- Russian said they no longer felt bound by the Treaty of Paris, which stated they were not allowed warships in the Black Sea.

-Turks continued to overtax and persecute the Balkan Christians, which led to a rebellion and spread to Serbia, Monetengro and Bulgaria.

Disraeli's attitude

-Deeply suspicious about Russian intentions, if Russia helped the Balkan Christians there was a change they would fall under Russia control.

-Minimised motives of Autrians + Germans- thought they were scheming with the Russians.

-Wanted to preserve Turkish power- thought it the best way of maintaining interests in the East.

-Refused to support the Berlin memorandum (petition) felt bound to condemn the Turks after they redoubled their efforts in the crushing of rebels. However, he did not change his mind about the support of Russia.

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Eastern Question

Russia and Turkey

The Russians declared war on Turkey in 1877. Constantinople was threatened, British public changed to become pro-Turkish. The British threats convince the Russians to ceasefire. Peace negotiations opened and eventually an agreement was reached.

Treaty of San Stefano (0878) This was signed between Russia and Turkey. Britain and Austria portested in the strongest terms. Bismark, German Chancellor decided to act as an 'honest broker' and Russia decided to attend the Congress of Berlin to negotiate peace terms.

Congress of Berlin 1878- Disraeli led the Congerss and they nearly achieved what they wanted.

1) The idea of Big Bulgaria was dropped.

2) The Austrians were able to occipy and administer Bonsia and Herzegovina 

3) The Turks allowed Britain to occupy Cyprus in return for military help.

Perosonal triumph for Disraeli- "we have brought back peace with honour"

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Robert Blake said Disraeli deserved immense credit because the congress gave Europe over 30 years of Peace.

Why the Conservatives lost the 1880 General Election?

-Criticism about events overseas- the mishandling of the Zulu war.

-Lack of social reform- mainly because Disraeli had been occupied by foreign affairs, the gov't found no way of dealing wiht the Irish MP's who wanted Home Rule.

-There was an Industiral slump which caused unemployment to shoot up rapidly. This was the beginning of the Great Depression.

-Agricultural Depression caused by a series of wet summers.

-Gladstone emerge as the real Liberal leader. He attacked Disraeli's policies as 'immoral and iniquitous' the Afghan war was a 'crime against God.'

-The liberal organistaion reached peak efficiency under Joseph Camberlain

Disraeli was a first rate parliamentarian.

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These are very detailed revision cards on the Conservatives, with particualr focus on Peel and Disraeli.

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