Public Opinion and the Limits of Opposition: 1820–26

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


George III’s death on 29 January 1820 began a year of political upheaval that tested Liverpool’s government before finally demonstrating the limits of opposition. The election required within six months of a sovereign’s demise gave the Whigs a welcome opportunity to build on their gains in 1818. George IV’s accession also raised the contentious political question of resolving his failed marriage to Caroline of Brunswick, and the popular agitation that accompanied the Queen’s trial in 1820 revived the previous summer’s tensions before Peterloo and directly challenged the government’s authority. Brougham used the crisis in an unsuccessful attempt to drive Liverpool from office, and it brought the Whigs closest to gaining power since 1812. It also raised Brougham’s reputation as Queen Caroline’s attorney and confirmed his standing as the Whigs’ indispensable, though deeply controversial, lead spokesman in the House of Commons.


Public Opinion Public Sentiment Undercut Effort Political Exclusion Public Scandal 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© William Anthony Hay 2005

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  • William Anthony Hay

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