Liberals and Conservatives Part 1- Whigs to Liberals


Growth of Radical Support

Radicals were mainly made up of middle class manufacturers and represented the lower classes

Demanded further parliamentary reform and wider representation of the people, especially the lower classes

Extensions of relgious liberty- this went against one of the main Tory beliefs in the Church of England

Tariff Reductions- Gladstone pleased Radicals with many tax reductions- especially the paper cut which meant more Radical newspapers in support of Gladstone came about

Administrative reform leading to meritorcracy- this was one of Gladstone's core principles in his first ministry

Social Reform- did we see much of this from 46-68? 

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How Liberal was Lord Russell's 1846 Ministry

Maintained a belief in Free Trade, removing several duties- showed the Whigs progressive views (towards Liberalism?)

Any Parliamentary/Religious reform was dismmised immediately by traditional whigs

1851- Ecclesiastical Titles Act-was an anti catholic measure that was unpopular with the Radicals- in the wake of 'no popery'

No steps made towards a meritocratic society

Radical in free trade beliefs only

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Palmerston- did he unite the Whigs and Liberals

He appealed to both Whigs and Radicals with his strong/aggressive foreign policy

  • Arrow Incident
  • Don Pacifico

These are examples of how he flexed British muscle and reaffirm military and economic dominance

  • Support of Italian Nationalists (Italian Unification) and thus gained Radical and Middle class support from it
  • His saving of the Crimean War gained popularity and proved his strong leadership
  • But Radicals Cobden and Bright critiscised his handling of the Crimean War- calling his management incompetent and influenced public opinion with this
  • Roebuck demanded a committee of enquiry and this motion was passed by a large majority
  • The Queen was forced to invite him back into office due to lack of credible leaders
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Palmertston continued

His patriotic foreign policy combined with Mid-Victorian prosperity united Liberal factions behind a common theme

Little domestic reform- was this good or bad in going from Whigs to Liberals?

He was responsible for Willis Room Meetings in 1859- Whigs, Radicals and Peelites- overthrow the Conservative government

Conservatives found it difficult to oppose Palmerston- 

  • Lukewarm support for Parliamentary reform
  • Refused demands of administrative reform of Civil Service
  • Impressed with his handling of the Indian Mutiny
  • Showed no opposition to Church of England
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The radicals couldn't form their own party

They differed on too many issues to become one cohesive unit

  • Parliamentary Reform- their demands ranged from household suffrage to universal male suffrage to female suffragw
  • Foreign Policy- some supported Palmerston's patriotic policy whilst others were pacifists with moral objections to war (Cobden and Bright)

They were too small a group to make a great enough impact- although they were coming to have greater significance they still couldn't have their own party- they needed the Whigs to get their ideas heard and legalised- but to what extent was this?

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How far was it down to Gladstone

He was one of the main proponents of free trade

  • 1853 Budget abolished 123 tariffs and reduced 133 more- he promised to get rid of income tax but was unsuccessful
  • 1860 Cobden Treaty- removed all tariffs between Britain and France- he worked with Radicals and Whigs alike- this also pleased middle classes as it doubled their wealth
  • Worked to remove fraud and corruption from government - retrenchment philosophy was popular with both Whigs and Radicals 
  • Abolition of Paper duties 1861- reduced the cost of books and newspapers- this improved the working class man, stengthened the argument for parliamentary reform and made him popular with press/public- formation of the People's William

1866 Reform Bill gave the Liberal Party a clear direction after a decade of Palmerstonian policies

Huge focus on free trade allowed the Whigs and Liberals to unite behind a mutual issue and a genuinley popular man alike Palmerston who just appeased them with strong foregin policy- Gladstone uses the concept of Concert of Europe etc

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  • influence of Palmerston
  • influence of Gladstone
  • Co-dependency of Liberal Factions
  • Failures of Conservatives- the liberals gained off of their losses
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