• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How successful was Peel's ministry of 1841-46?

Extracts from this document...


10/03/04 How successful was Peel's ministry of 1841-46? After a successful campaign, which led to Peel assuming office in 1841, Peel had constructed enthusiastic party support, and the strong feeling that he was the "One man who could tackle forcefully the major problems that faced the country". Peel seemed to be confident that he could justify that trust, however what needs to be explored, is the level of confidence Peel had, and how fast he pushed his ministry to achieve that trust. As Sir James Graham, who was a pro Peel, can support this view, for he thought" Peel was rushing too much". What also should be noted is that Peel was not only Prime Minister; he was also head of the conservative party; however this did not seem the case for many people of that time, particularly the backbenchers.1 When Peel took office in 1841, he recognised that the major problem facing Britain was economic, and as Richard Brown points out "His priority was to make the country debt-free and affluent". He set about establishing a government based on administrative effectiveness, on top of trying to solve the problems created by the Whig government. In addition was should be noted is that Peel and his ministry were voted for they were most likely to protect landowners and defend the established church. ...read more.


The issue raised enough support for Lord Chandos' resignation, and disillusioned many agriculturalists in the Party. The working class enjoyed a lower cost of living praising the sliding scale too for its attempt to stabilise bread prices. The financial measures worked profitably to the nation as a whole, with trade reviving, exports increasing with unemployment falling.4 The improving economic conditions undermined the chartist movement and suppressed much social unrest, and again as Prince Albert underlines "If the country gets richer everyone will get richer". However, the strains in government were growing, not only on matters of principle, evidently after Peels threat to resign over the Sugar Bill. Peels domination over Party members created great tension and resentment, labelling Peel as arrogant and stubborn, a matter that presented itself even more during the ministry's undertaking of social reform. Given the overwhelming domination of domestic problems and policies during the 1840's, foreign affairs had little impact on the progress of Peel's ministry. However, Catholiscism in Ireland proved a strenuous task for Peel to resolve, and as Peel's Irish reforms did little to gain nationwide support, Peel felt that the Irish problems could be dealt not with economics, but institutional reform especially through education. "He undertook a 'Plan of Conciliation,' wanting to appease and convince the Irish the benefits of the Union, whilst also repressing the social unrest caused by O'Connell". ...read more.


The ongoing Famine in Ireland just exploited the urgency and rationalization for repeal. The repeal saw the last obstacle for 'Free Trade' much to industrial and the Anti-Corn Law League delight. The working classes saw the prospect of cheap bread to support the repeal, as did the Chartist movement. The consequences of the repeal did justify Peel's hopes for the protection of the landed interest too, despite its intense opposition. In addition, as Richard Brown argues: "Economically the repeal did not have a negative impact on the agriculturalists", as the rising population and expanding demand for British produce resulted in increasing rent tolls and farming profits. It was Peel's determination to act according to public interest that allowed him to ignore the narrow landed interest that his Party reflected.6 As Paul Adelman clarifies: "The government was essentially 'Peel's ministry'; he had created it and in the end he was to destroy it".7 Peel was able to put the nation above Party, and so his reforms were always more popular with the country, than with the party. Therefore Peel and his ministry helped the needs of the working and middle classes, and not just the narrow landed interest that his party suggested, outlining a successful achievement. Nevertheless he received criticism for ignoring his Party's wishes, significantly due to the fact he was leading a predominantly Protectionist Party as the 1841 election outlined, and so by consistently betraying the promises of Protectionism, he lost Party support. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level British History: Monarchy & Politics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level British History: Monarchy & Politics essays

  1. Peer reviewed

    How successful were the economic and social reforms of the Peel ministry in the ...

    4 star(s)

    However, a different interpretation is that Peel's stubbornness and inflexibility resulted in the destruction of the Conservative Party, and that some of the reforms carried out were not successful. For example, the Maynooth Grant (1835) cannot be classed as a success, as it not only split the Tory party and

  2. How successful were the Whig reforms of 1833 1841 in dealing with Britains ...

    It emerged that outdoor relief was cheaper and continued in many area despite its ban in the Act. Hence, this demonstrates why the Poor Law Amendment Act was the most significant Whig reform that failed to deal with Britain's domestic problem.

  1. How Important was the Anti Corn-Law League in Peel's decision to repeal the Corn ...

    For the government to be seen to be so openly keeping the price high whilst its people were starving was embarrassing for the government. Although the famine would not be affected by the repeal, so cannot be considered the cause, Evans suggests that it provided the occasion for it.

  2. How successful were Peel's economic and financial policies in the period 1841-46?

    Because of the increased revenues from the new tax, Peel was able to put further economic policy in place, which would also prove to have an effect on both the English social situation and his political reputation. Over the next few months, Peel was able to substantially reduce tariffs on

  1. Assess the success of Peel

    Peel saw that the removal of tariffs would counter act these problems and bring down the cost of British goods abroad, increase exports, revive industry and provide more jobs as well as lowering the costs of living for the working classes.

  2. How far do you agree that the Anti-Corn law League was the most important ...

    To conclude, the stem of the Corn Law repeal came from the Irish famine from within the cabinet and inside parliament, although the Corn Law was responsible for the conversion of Whig leader lord John Russell, this was not the case with Peel, still standing that it was Peels gradual conversion which lead to the repeal.

  1. How successful were Peels social and economic reforms between 1841 and 1846?

    Chartist challenge may not have been that threatening after all, as Steadman Jones explains in his ?nasty state? theory) final obstacle that Peel had faced was one from the cloud in the west, Ireland. His old enemy Daniel O?Connell had whipped up large support which aimed to repeal the Act

  2. To what extent can Gladstones first ministry be considered a great reforming ministry?

    They could also apply for scholarships and fellowships, and refuse to attend lectures if it interfered with their faith. A positive outcome of the act was that it highlighted the point that Britain were becoming more accepting of Non-Anglicans and steadily became acceptable members of society.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work