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

Examine the significance of William Pitt, the younger's Government in reforming the British Parliamentary system.

Extracts from this document...


Examine the significance of William Pitt, the younger's Government in reforming the British Parliamentary system. Successive Kings of England, George I (1714-1727) and George II (1727-60), both proved highly disinterested in the political aspects of their country. As a result of this disinterest, each in turn had to leave national ruling to the Government. Subsequently, in 1716 the Septennial Act was passed, which extended the life of parliament from 3 to 7 years. This provided for an unprecedented period of parliament stability, and ultimately limited the powers of the king.' (Barnett, 2002 p654). Political power had now shifted from the king to his chosen first minister. Parliament at this time could not be described as democratic. A small, cohesive group of elites, known as the Whigs ran it. They instigated a period of political stability. A recognisable feature of the Government developed during the reign of King George II. This was the cabinet. This meant... "Ministers would meet in cabinet, without the King" (Barnett, 2002 p565). King George III would from then on only liaise with the advisors of his council. All acts of parliament continued to have to meet with royal approval. 1760 - George III came to the throne, he was proud of his country and indeed "regarded himself as an Englishman" (Barnett, 2002 p566). ...read more.


William Pitt was the youngest ever Prime Minister at the age of twenty-four, however the King did not have much faith in him retaining his post for very long, or of Pitt having any major influences, this was not to be the case. Prime Minister Pitt took his role in the House of Commons. This was completely unheard of at that time, as the role of the Prime Minister was to control the Commons to benefit the Lords and Monarchy. This move had shifted power from the Lords, William Pitt's father was furious at his son's decision. This would bring about the start of a two-way system in Parliament, the Tory's and Whigs. The reason behind this dramatic change was Pitt's ever-increasing interest in the way that Britain elects its MPs, and he strongly disagreed with the systems of bribery. "He was especially critical of the way in which the Monarchy used the system to influence those in Parliament" (Spartacus, 2005 p1). Pitt believed reform was necessary for the sake of liberty. He introduced a new law that stated members of Parliament must declare their income and pay tax on their earnings. This in effect would do away with the corrupt sinecures and tax reforms. The King was no longer a financial benefit to Ministers of Government, and so financial gain had to come from elsewhere. ...read more.


It was titled the Bill of rights. This would define the respected roles of the Monarchy and Parliament. Some roles of the Crown remain today, such as the right of the King to appoint Prime Ministers of his own choosing, and to dissolve the position at his own discretion. The introduction of two main Parliamentary Political Parties was formed, which in turn brought about the vote. Not only rich landowners received the right to vote, but also the middle classes. "From 1831 to 1833 the overall size of the electorate increased by 78%" (Barnett, 2002 p574). Catholic Emancipation would be another outcome of Pitt's reform according to Barnett, this did not come into rule until 1828, when the Duke of Wellington was appointed Prime Minister. As a result of Pitt's introduction to Catholic Emancipation, '...Wellington and Peel had the Test and Corporation Acts repealed, thus ending centuries of religious discrimination' (Barnett, 2002 p574). However, discrimination at a somewhat lower level continued to exist, the Act of Settlement (1701) upheld the law that only Protestants could be heir to the throne. "...no Roman Catholic could inherit the Crown, nor could any King or Queen or heir to the throne marry a Catholic" (Barnett, 2002 p560). Although it is evident that Pitt brought about major revolution, it must be acknowledged politics are never static, and Government is constantly evolving. However, the impact of Pitt's reforms had long and far reaching consequences. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE 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 GCSE Politics essays

  1. Party system in India

    Also there was no willingness to make alignments to improve their electoral prospects. * Also the experience it had with constitutional procedure and administration also gave it an edge over other parties. * The party had an all inclusive character and thus represented all sections of the society.

  2. How successful was the government of King Philip II of Spain?

    Yet his choice did much to further the belief that he and other Castilians "give the impression that they alone are descended from heaven, and the rest of mankind are mud." Significantly there were calls to move the capital to Lisbon away from the Castilian stronghold of Madrid and this

  1. To what extent was religion the main causeOf rebellion in the reign of Henry ...

    The Pilgrimage of Grace was the most serious threat the seat of Government. It showed that the Government hadn't acquired support all over the English kingdom.

  2. To what extent was the 1867 Reform Act a turning point in parliamentary democracy ...

    Many problems remained. Plural voting was still possible, and there had been instances of voters careering round the country placing votes in as many constituencies as possible for their favoured party (a level of enthusiasm for politics that we seem to have left in the past).

  1. Critically examine how Mahatma Gandhi used the concept of non-violence as a practical tool ...

    This itself would not have caused imperial collapse alone. The greatest catalyst towards the depletion of Britain's wealth and the independence of India was World War II. The Second World War stimulated political and economic changes which weakened Britain's hold on the Empire (Marshall: 1996). Britain made full use of India's assets during the war, but under an earlier

  2. The constitutional change in the House of Lords

    First, the criticism is that the consultation period is too short; the government has limited public debate on this vital issue by running a three month consultation. The shadow commons leader, Eric Forth, had described the proposals 'a fudge' and was 'an insult and an absurdity'.

  1. How has the role and impact of military rulers and civilian politicians differed in ...

    It was a very difficult time period for Musharraf. The orthodox militant groups established in Pakistan turned against Musharraf over his decision for supporting America in War of Terrorism. These militant groups have very firm roots in Pakistan but Musharraf took a bold step of working with the International community,

  2. Malta at the turn of the 19th Century.

    The 1840s saw the first British major works of fortifications the first being St. Clements Retrenchment in 1849, to support the Cottonera Lines and the St. Margherita Lines. Lascaris Battery as the new fortification was called, due to the fact that it was built on the site of the Grand

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