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Why was Jacobite opposition to the Whig Oligarchy so unsuccessful between 1714-60

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Why was Jacobite opposition to the Whig Oligarchy so unsuccessful between 1714-60 The Jacobites were a British group who repeatedly tried to reinstate the old Stuart kings onto the English throne, as opposed to the Protestant monarchy that began in 1689. From 1714-60 parliament was dominated by the Whig party, to the detriment of the pro-Jacobite Tories. There were many Jacobite attempts in this period to overthrow this Whig oligarchy and the kings that supported it. P Monod attributes the failure of the Jacobites to a lack of leadership and inadequate military forces. J Stephenson, on the other hand, argues that a lack of foreign and domestic support for the old stuart monarchy is the predominant reason for the lack of success of the Jacobites. This essay will examine the four main factors that are cited as the reasons for the failure of Jacobites - poor leadership, weak military, little foreign support, declining domestic support - and will evaluate which one of them is the most important. ...read more.


Although, they were slow to react to both rebellions, they were far superior when they engaged the Jacobites in combat. In 1715, the British army had just emerged victorious from the War of Spanish Succession. After famous victories, such as Blenhim, it became known as one of the most formidable fighting forces in Europe. It was large and well trained. Moreover, the Jacobite armies were hampered by internal divisions. The bulk of their men came from highland clans which were historically opposed. Many refused to fight with each other. This problem was particularly present in the rebellion of '45. The Jacobite cause had little hope when it was so weak in the face of such strong opposition. In Britain and Scotland the Jacobites support for the Jacobites was slight, waning further during the period. While Scotland may have been very pro-Jacobite in 1714, the Jacobite influence influence decreased radically until 1760. This is largely down to the fact that the people were forgetting the reasons for their hatred of the British crown. ...read more.


Few other European nations were willing to fund the Jacobites. Seeing it as an worthless cause that would just bring unnecessary aggression from Britain, the pre-eminent power in Europe. The lack of foreign support was no doubt significant, as a large, well-supplied army was never received in Britain. However, even with the absence of this, the Jacobite rebellions drove deep into Britain. Similarly, the claim that Jacobite leaders were inept, while maybe true, does not fully explain the failure of the rebellions. The armies still enjoyed many victories and the British were often commanded by similarly worthless men. The inadequacy of the troops and the lack of domestic support are the most significant explanations for the failure of the Jacobites. Against such a strong British army, the Jacobites had little hope of victory. Linked to this, is the lack of pro-Jacobite people in Britain. This was an underlying reason for the small number of people that would join the rebellion and further ensured that both times the revolts extended into England, they petered out due to the prevalent hostility of the people. ...read more.

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