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)


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


Foreign Policy European State Postwar Period Religious Toleration British State 
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© John Bew 2016

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  • John Bew

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