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"The unpopularity of their policies was the most important reason why the Conservatives were out of office 1846-1866" How far do you agree?

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"The unpopularity of their policies was the most important reason why the Conservatives were out of office 1846-1866" How far do you agree? The Repeal of the Corn Laws introduced by Sir Robert Peel in 1846 generated a great deal of bitterness among his MPs and their voters This policy was the foundation to the weakness of the Conservative party and resulted in a deep division which split the party and its supporters. This resulted in a disorganised and inefficient party and was a cause of their struggle for power. A lack of compromise, failure to recognise the fundamental interests of its supporters and internal conflict all led to the downfall of the party. In the years between 1846 and 1866 the Conservative party held power on only two occasions, firstly in 1852 and again between 1858 and 1859. Conservative policies in these years included both the budget of 1852 and 1853 as well as the Reform Bill of 1853. However, these policies only resulted in developing a sense of unity within the Liberals, as it further highlighted a failure to formulate sound strategy for future progress. Therefore, it is clear that the Conservative party was unable to appeal to the voting public and along with a lack of internal compromise they were placed in an ever deteriorating situation. It can be proved from this that it was not only unpopular policy that resulted in their weakness but the overall picture that was portrayed to the electorate. ...read more.


Also the deep hatred amongst the Peelites towards Disraeli meant that they too were not interested in re-joining the Conservative party. Therefore the failure to put the interest of the party and its progress first meant that there was little to present to the voting public. It can be seen that in order to appeal to the voting public it was necessary to have a sound organisation and sense of unity within the party. This was important in order to present a convincing set of policies which together would improve their chances of getting to power. Also the disorganisation within the separate divisions meant that there were opposing views which would confuse the electorate and lead to favour for the opposition. However the more important factor in their failure to take office between 1846 and 1866 was their failure to appeal to the voting public. This is the more important factor because the public would only be interested in the party if it was clearly representing their interests. Compromise was less important because it would not necessarily bring the voters and hence would not get the party in office. However it can be argued that with compromise they could attract more voters. This is because the public would see them as a more organised and united force which could bring about legislation. From this it is clear that the more important factor was appealing to the public yet without compromise the amount of public they could appeal to would be limited. ...read more.


The Gladstone budget of 1853 was seen by the public as clear and precise to the needs of the country. The removal of deficit, reduction in taxes and greater government administration were all favoured by the people. This resulted in a loss of support for the Conservatives. Therefore it can be seen that even with a strong leader there was no way that the party could get support without introducing sound legislation. Even so factors beyond their control including the legislation of the Liberals, more explicitly revealed the flaws in Conservative policy. Again, simply having popular legislation would not have resulted in direct success and hence this was not the most important factor. In conclusion, it can be seen that there many weaknesses within the Conservative Party. The fact that they were unable to establish a strong leader, introduce stronger legislation than the opposition and compromise within the party meant that even popular policy would not ensure them power. These factors are clearly interrelated in that popular policy alone could not convince the public to vote for the party. The other factors played a role in ensuring that the overall picture was a convincing and well organised party. Therefore although unpopular policy could be seen as the main reason for not gaining the interest of the people, it was not necessarily the reason why the part was out of office as this was more to do with the combination of the other factors which would encourage the electorate to vote Conservative. ...read more.

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