1818 and the Westmorland Election

  • William Anthony Hay
Part of the Studies in Modern History book series (SMH)


Brougham had confidently predicted in 1814 that ‘the gag is gone which used to stop our mouths as often as any reform was mentioned — revolution first, and then invasion’, and he believed that with peace ‘the game is in the hands of the Opposition’.1 Although he correctly foresaw the discontent that the transition from war to peace would produce, Brougham misjudged his party’s ability to turn it to their advantage. Whigs who accepted public opinion as a useful tool against the government still distrusted what they saw as a fickle and turbulent populace. Parliamentary elections offered a better chance to restore Whig ties to the public by appealing to respectable freeholders in boroughs and shires. Opening constituency politics to national debates during the 1820s marked a key point in the growth of a broader political nation. Brougham saw that parliamentary elections could serve the same objectives as petition and debate tactics while shifting the party contest from the House of Commons to constituencies.


Parliamentary Election Prince Regent Parliamentary Seat Election Committee Personal Canvass 
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© William Anthony Hay 2005

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  • William Anthony Hay

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