The Challenges of Peace: The High Politics of Postwar Reconstruction in Britain, 1815–1830

  • John Bew
Part of the War, Culture and Society, 1750–1850 book series (WCS)

Abstract

In the wake of the Napoleonic Wars, as the glow of success from victory at the Battle of Waterloo faded, the United Kingdom encountered a series of challenges which were similar to those faced by many other European states. Taking a long view of how Britain developed during the nineteenth century, it is reasonable to conclude that the transition after more than 20 years of warfare was comparatively well managed. Britain was spared the instability that beset many other European nations (and indeed, America) during the next 60 years. Underpinned by unprecedented economic growth in the postwar period and the growth of Empire, such exceptionalism became the centrepiece of the ‘Whig narrative’ of non-revolutionary political progress, peaking with the publication of Thomas Macaulay’s The History of England from the Accession of James the Second published in 1848. Mid-Victorian British patriotism was largely constructed around a liberal constitutional ideal, bolstered by comparison with the instability and despotism which beset so many other states.1

Keywords

Combustion Corn Depression Mercury Europe 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 1.
    Jonathan Parry, The Politics of Patriotism: English Liberalism, National Identity and Europe, 1830–1886 (Cambridge, 2006).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Boyd Hilton, A Mad, Bad, and Dangerous People? England, 1783–1846 (Oxford, 2006).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Élie Halévy, The Liberal Awakening, 1815–1830 (London, 1931).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Philip Harling and Peter Mandler, ‘From “Fiscal-Military” State to Laissez-Faire State, 1760–1850’, Journal of British Studies 32/1 (1993): 44–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. See also Philip Harling, The Waning of ‘Old Corruption’: The Politics of Economical Reform in Britain, 1779–1846 (New York, 1996).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 5.
    Boyd Hilton, The Age of Atonement: The Influence of Evangelicalism on Social and Economic Thought, 1785–1865 (Oxford, 1988).Google Scholar
  7. See also Boyd Hilton, ‘Whiggery, Religion and Social Reform: The Case of Lord Morpeth’, Historical Journal 4/37 (1994): 829–859.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 6.
    William R. Brock, Lord Liverpool and Liberal Toryism, 1820 to 1827 (London, 1967);Google Scholar
  9. and Stephen J. Lee, George Canning and Liberal Toryism, 1801–1827 (London, 2008).Google Scholar
  10. 7.
    William Anthony Hay, The Whig Revival, 1808–1830 (Basingstoke, 2005).Google Scholar
  11. See also Jonathan Parry, The Rise and Fall of Liberal Government in Victorian Britain (New Haven, CT, 1993).Google Scholar
  12. 9.
    J. G. A. Pocock, The Machiavellian Moment: Florentine Political Thought and the Atlantic Republican Tradition (Princeton, NJ, 1975).Google Scholar
  13. 10.
    For a classic statement of the ‘primacy of foreign policy’, see Brendan Simms, The Struggle for Mastery in Germany, 1779–1850 (New York, 1998), 1–6 and 75–90.Google Scholar
  14. For its application to British history, see William Mulligan and Brendan Simms (eds), The Primacy of Foreign Policy in British History, 1660–2000 (Basingstoke, 2010).Google Scholar
  15. 11.
    ‘Castlereagh to Charles Stewart’, 5 July 1816, Castlereagh Papers, (Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, Belfast), D3030/Q2/1. See also John Bew, Castlereagh: A Life (Oxford, 2012).Google Scholar
  16. 12.
    Roger Knight, Britain Against Napoleon: The Organization of Victory, 1972–1815 (London, 2013).Google Scholar
  17. 15.
    Élie Halévy, A History of the English People in 1815 (London, 1987), 92.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    For the most authoritative account of the debates over protectionism, see Boyd Hilton, Corn, Cash and Commerce: The Economic Policies of the Tory Governments, 1815–1830 (Oxford, 1977).Google Scholar
  19. 22.
    Henry Bulwer-Lytton, Historical Characters: Talleyrand, Cobbett, Mackintosh, Canning, 2 vols (London, 1868), vol. 2, 294.Google Scholar
  20. 25.
    Mark Jarrett, The Congress of Vienna and its Legacy: War and Great Power Diplomacy after Napoleon (London, 2013), 220–223.Google Scholar
  21. 26.
    Arthur Aspinall et al. (eds), English Historical Documents (London, 1996), vol. 11, 325–332.Google Scholar
  22. 27.
    Paul Bew, Ireland: The Politics of Enmity, 1789–2006 (Oxford, 2007), 56.Google Scholar
  23. 28.
    For the classic study, see Edward P. Thompson, The Making of the English Working Class (London, 1963).Google Scholar
  24. 29.
    See Dror Wahrman, Imagining the Middle Class: The Political Representation of Class in Britain, c. 1780–1840 (Cambridge, 1995).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 30.
    J. C. D. Clarke, English Society 1688–1832: Ideology, Social Structure and Political Practice During the Ancien Regime (Cambridge, 1985).Google Scholar
  26. 34.
    For an important recent exception, see Douglas A. Kanter, The Making of British Unionism, 1740–1848 (Dublin, 2009).Google Scholar
  27. 48.
    Richard M. Schneer, ‘Arthur Wellesley and the Cintra Convention: A New Look at an Old Puzzle’, The Journal of British Studies 19/2 (1980): 93–119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 49.
    Peter Spence, The Birth of Romantic Radicalism: War, Popular Politics and English Radical Reformism, 1800–1815 (Aldershot, 1996), 103.Google Scholar
  29. 50.
    Gordon C. Bond, The Grand Expedition: The British Invasion of Holland in 1809 (Athens, GA, 1979), 144–146; and ‘Minutes of Evidence taken before the Committee of the whole House, appointed to consider the policy and conduct of the late expedition to the Scheldt’, 5 February 1810, in The Parliamentary Debates from the Year 1803 to the Present Time, published by T.C. Hansard (London, 1812), vol. 15, appendix no. 1.Google Scholar
  30. 51.
    Quoted in Rory Muir, Britain and the Defeat of Napoleon, 1807–1815 (New Haven CT, 1996), 258–261.Google Scholar
  31. 52.
    Harold Nicolson, The Congress of Vienna: A Study in Allied Unity, 1812–1822 (London, 1946), 65–67.Google Scholar
  32. 54.
    William H. Robson, ‘New Light on Lord Castlereagh’s Diplomacy’, The Journal of Modern History 3/2 (1931): 198–218.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 65.
    Ronald Fraser, Napoleon’s Cursed War: Popular Resistance in the Spanish Peninsular War (London, 2008), 470.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© John Bew 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Bew

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations