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How close to revolution was Great Britain in the 1790s?

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Introduction

How close to revolution was Great Britain in the 1790?s? The 1790?s wasn?t the easiest of times for Britain. Revolution overthrowing the monarchy in France caused working-class civilians in Britain to entertain the idea of revolutionizing. This, among other aspects such as the war with France and food supply, meant that Britain, led by Pitt, had to fight off the threat of revolution. It would be a fair statement to make that although Great Britain had big enough threats and factors for revolution to actually happen, the threat lacked a certain spark that could have ignited the revolution, spreading into a full-blown fire across the whole country, helping end the monarchy. The first key point to look at is the nature of British society at the time. The economy and living conditions can always be catalysts for a revolution- an example is the sorry state of the French economy, one of the major causes of revolution breaking out there, just before they went into revolution. Now, had the economy of Britain in the 1790?s been as crippled as France?s was, then it would have been likely that people in Great Britain would have been feeling desperate for change, and a revolutionary would have been looking likely. However, this was not the case. ...read more.

Middle

For a country to revolutionize, most of the country?s people need to have the desire to overthrow the King, in order to have enough power and force to do so. Take France as an example once again, the Third Estate made up around 90% of the country, and virtually all of the third estate wanted to see change, hence why France was swept up in revolution. This was not the case in Britain. Perhaps it was because the class-system was on the whole fairer-the clergy did not dominate as much in Britain as it did in France, and the working class of Britain, though most likely discontent, were on the whole miles happier than the French working class in comparison. This one factor alone was one of, if not the, greatest reasons why Britain steered clear of revolution and did not come as close as it may well have. Having said that, Pitt made sure radical ideas, actions and organisations were subdued. To supress the threat of revolution, Pitt brought upon changes to certain acts and even created new ones. One example is how Pitt suspended the Habeas Corpus Amendment act from 1974-1795, then again from 1798-1801. This act meant that people could only be arrested after solid evidence, however after the temporary removal of this act, anyone could be arrested and held indefinitely, even if there was no evidence and they were merely being held on suspicion. ...read more.

Conclusion

Britain faced many threats, such as radical ideas spreading across Britain, the faltering economy, the war with France, the lack of a police force and so on; however Britain reacted very well and did everything it could to the best of its ability to suppress the idea of revolution from getting out of hand-harsh measures introduced helped dispel revolutionaries, and the stabilisation of the economy and standard of life was crucial in helping to satisfy the majority of the population. Fundamental flaws were present in the opposition, and it was these flaws which never allowed them to have a real chance in overthrowing the King. A distinct minority of people in Great Britain wanted change, and so trying to disrupt the regime, as well as having very little access to arms and weaponry and themselves being spilt about their aims, was always going to be a daunting task. It was a task that was attempted to be carried out by the revolutionaries, and despite posing a variety of threats to the country, the radicals lacked a certain spark and the government dealt with them well. A fundamental cohesion and stability was seen throughout Britain in 1790?s, as, despite the fact the revolutionaries probed and questioned the government?s stability, the government and Britain answered, responded well, and managed to quash the threat of revolution in Great Britain, ensuring that Britain, although sternly tested, sailed clear of revolution ...read more.

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