Social Tension and Party Politics in 1819

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

Abstract

The year 1819 marked an important point in the halting process by which the Whigs recovered their vitality. The political scene that year also highlighted the symbiotic relationship between the parliamentary contest at Westminster and public opinion in the country. With support from a better organized and more enthusiastic Whig cohort in the Commons, Tierney mounted a systematic effort to translate popular discontent into a stronger position for his followers. The struggle between government and opposition led ministers in turn to seek a decisive expression of confidence from Parliament, but neither side gained a clear advantage. Social tensions heightened by faltering economic growth from June 1819 came to a head in the Peterloo riot on 16 August. Although threats of unrest strengthened the government’s hand as they had done in 1817, Whigs responded with more confidence than before and appealed to respectable opinion through a series of county meetings. They abandoned earlier inhibitions to work with local interests and reform groups in a move that contributed to a gradual shift in popular sentiment to their favour over the next decade.

Keywords

Depression Mercury Steam Income Expense 

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Notes

  1. 10.
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Copyright information

© William Anthony Hay 2005

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  • William Anthony Hay

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