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

How Significant An Event Was the Repeal Of The Corn Laws In The History Of The Conservative Party Between 1827-1874?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

How Significant An Event Was the Repeal Of The Corn Laws In The History Of The Conservative Party Between 1827-1874? The Conservative Party recovered well from its heavy defeat by the Whigs after passing of the 1832 Reform Bill. Under Peel, the Tories/Conservatives had re-assumed office in 1841 with a strong efficient ministry. The recovery involved a change in direction. Conservatives had accepted parliamentary reform and for the moment the Whig intended no more. The issues that seemed to separate the parties were that the Conservatives were the stronger defenders of the landed interest in general and the Corn Laws and protectionist principles in particular and the Conservatives were also keen not to undermine the position and privileges of the Church of England in any way. Peel proceeded to take two decisions, which seemed to undermine these basic principles. Both issues had an Irish link. Peel believed that he had acted in the national interest on both these issues but his actions were very damaging for the conservative as a party. By increasing the Maynooth Grant in 1845 Peel offended many Conservatives who objected on principle to a measure, which to their eyes undermined the Established Church. Roman Catholicism was not generally looked upon sympathetically by the majority of the landed interest. No matter that the grant was merely being increased and used for educational purposes, the objection was still strong. ...read more.

Middle

Although landowners did not financial ruin immediately after the repeal of the Corn Law in 1846, this event marked a turning point in the decline of landowner power in Britain. In 1846 the Conservative Party split over the repeal of the Corn Laws. Industrial middle-class wing became known as Peelites, and subsequently joined the Liberal Party in 1859. There are a number of reasons why the Conservatives were able to secure a majority of 76 seats in the 1841 election. It amounted to a combination of Peel's reorganisation of the party and the weakness of his Whig opponents. Peel was elected on a pledge to retain the Corn Laws, despite his own serious misgivings on the issue. Historians such as Eric Evans and Ian Newbould have questioned the view that Peel was solely responsible for the revival in his party's fortunes. They argue that election victory reveals that Peel was elected on traditional Tory rather than 'Conservative' values, and the party mad little headway in the areas, especially in the North, which were supposed to provide the basis for Conservative support. Social reform, the reorganisation of the nation's finances and an attempt to soothe the tensions in Ireland all played a crucial role in the development of his policy. Yet it was the repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846 that finally led to the collapse of the party and a period of political exile that would last for over 20 years. ...read more.

Conclusion

It also played an important, but not to be exaggerated, part in the Conservative Party out of a majority situation until 1874. Once the Second Reform Bill was through in August 1867, Parliament went into recess and did not reconvene until early 1868. Derby resigned through ill health in February 1868 and Benjamin Disraeli replaced him as Prime Minister. As he put it, he had reached the 'top of the greasy pole' at last. The impact of the repeal of the Corn Laws on agriculture was not much. The concern about the damaging impact that it might have had may well have acted to make many farmers look at their methods and management for improvement to compensate for possible damage. There was a gradual decline in the power of the landed interests, but it was very small in this period. The Protectionists' case vanished easily, and Disraeli was aware that his backbenchers had not been reduced to poverty when the Conservatives abandoned Protection in 1852. The anticipated destruction of British farming simply did not happen, the propaganda of those against repeal of the Corn Laws was proved to be inaccurate. Disraeli rose to political prominence during the Corn Law debates of 1845-46 as a major defender of agricultural protection. However, following the defeat of his 1852 budget Disraeli, like the rest of the Conservative Party, abandoned protection and adopted free trade. Yet, during the agricultural depression in 1877, Disraeli did toy with the idea of reimposing import taxes on grain. 28/04/07 1 Pinar Araci ...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. Compare and contrast the Chartist and Anti -Corn Law League movements. Explain and illustrate ...

    Therefore, he would have been opposed to the Charter. At the same time, Peel also recognised that the solution to these problems lay not in curing the symptoms, but in curing the causes. His opposition to Irish coercion demonstrated this. Moreover, the Chartists also protested that economic prosperity for the working classed could be achieved, until political representation was ensured.

  2. 'Nationalist Groups in the Sub-Continent played the most significant role in Britain's decision to ...

    The aftermath of the Second World War, played a huge role in granting India independence. The War profoundly affected Britain's hold on India (and elsewhere). It had become a liability with the necessity of defending it against Japan. Initial failure in the Far East damaged Britain's position as an "invincible" and great power, and encouraged Gandhi and Congress.

  1. The weakness of the Whig government from 1835-1841 was the most important reason for ...

    It was seen as a cunning and brilliant attempt to win over the middle class voters and it proved to be a catalyst for changing the Tory Party into the 'Conservative Party'. Peel came out with new economical and social policies and aimed to correct 'proven abuses and redress real grievances'.

  2. Why did the Conservative Party split in 1846? - Ed Pearson When Peel announced ...

    However Thomas ignores the issues of party and constituency, within the Conservative party the landed section was not proportionately more opposed than the non-landed, however the section of Conservative MPs that represented the land was, therefore it could be argued that the Tory Mps were not voting for their own

  1. British History Coursework: The Irish Famine 1845-1849

    Because of this there was little opportunity for employment outside agriculture, and agriculture did not pay well as there was so great a supply of workers desperate for a way to support their families. Like much of the British Empire of the time, Ireland was composed of two nations, one

  2. To What Extent Was Peel's Reorganisation of the Tory Party responsible for the election ...

    as the opportunity to stand loyal, in her opinion to the previous Prime Minister. Eventually Melbourne resumed office for a further two years before a of 'no confidence' removed him, and the Conservatives were able to enter government at the peak of their political strength.

  1. Free essay

    To what extent was Sir Robert Peel responsible for the conservative party break up ...

    He claimed this to be essential after the Whigs miss use of government finance and he also claimed this would only be a temporary measure in order to clear the government debt but this never went away. This angered his party because most of the landed interest were except from

  2. "The defeat of the Whigs in 1841 was solely the result of their own ...

    As essential part of this was the deliberate movement of the Tories into the reforming ground previously a preserve of the Whigs. Thus, according to Llewellyn, it must have seemed by 1837 that 'the Whigs were becoming less Radical and more "conservative" and that the Conservatives under Peel were becoming more "liberal"'.

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