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Howmuch credit for the revival in fortunes of the Tory Party in the period1832-1841 can be ascribed personally to Peel?

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How much credit for the revival in fortunes of the Tory Party in the period 1832-1841 can be ascribed personally to Peel? Undoubtedly Peel was vital in the rival of the Tory Party but his gifts were often helped through chance and the incompetence of other Governments. Peel was a good and loyal leader who possessed the qualities that were required in order to lead strongly. In 1832 the Tory party was disastrously disunited. The party was more a number of factions who loosely believed in the same ideals. This meant that within the party there were more liberal people and more radical people and the common ground was very small. This meant that the leader, Wellington, had a hard time over the Reform Bill. Prime Minister Grey was also having trouble with the Bill and its passage through the House of Lords. When it was refused the Government resigned and Wellington was asked to take over. Wellington knew he would need the support of all the factions of the Tories if he was to be successful but Peel refused to serve in that Government. Peel opposed the Bill, as he believed it negated from his principles and he would not serve. This meant Wellington could not form the Government and as a result Grey formed it again. This episode highlighted that it was time for Wellington to go and a new leader was needed. ...read more.


He started the system of Manifestos in 1835 to try and win the support of the electorate. This was a clever idea and it certainly worked. His ability to reach out to the people and address each of their abuses that are relevant to their lives in writing was an ingenious idea that had never been done. At this time Swing Riots were rife and the French Revolution was in full force and Peel began to worry about revolution in Britain. To combat this he chose a very odd stance. He would support the Whig Government if it would make the constitution stronger. This led to Peel helping Whig Bills, such as the Poor Law Amendment Act and the Municipal Corporation Act, get through with his support. Although the Bills got through the dependence on Tory votes meant the Whig Government was being weakened. So by trying to strengthen the government Peel was also weakening it, which was a great advantage to him. He was an intelligent man and he knew that this was happening and his talent enabled him to exploit the situation to his advantage. By 1835 a General Election was held and this certainly illuminated the revival of fortunes for the Tory party. With 273 MP's in the House of Commons, a more effective organisation and established leaders (like Peel) the Tories were now a formidable parliamentary force. They had gained 98 MP's from 1832 and won several by-elections between 1837 and 1841. ...read more.


Peel was a master at exploiting situations for his benefit and had a sound understanding of economics. These abilities meant the Whigs days in Government were numbered. The 1841 election results showed a decisive win for the Tory Party and it was a personal triumph for Peel. They had gained 53 seats from the 1837 election and now controlled 136 out of 159 county seats in England and Wales. Although they had undoubtedly increased their support Peel's attempt to win over the middle class had not entirely worked. Many of the seats were from larger urban areas such as Bristol and Liverpool but these were older commercial centres and the Tories had won few seats in the new great industrial cities. The Tory party still remained above all a party of the land. Peel, as a Prime Minister, had shown courage, energy, firmness, and an unexpected good temper in handling both his own party members and the opposition. In the area of Government he had again displayed detailed knowledge, formidable powers of work and concentration and administrative mastery. This had undoubtedly helped the Tory party revive its electoral fortunes. Although Peel had shown great ability as a firm and skilful leader and in economic thinking he was certainly helped by chance and the incompetent nature of the Whig Government. Through his ability to exploit these opportunities he revived the party by making it a coherent and disciplined body but the party was still a party of the land and Peel had failed to capture the support from the great industrial cities. Danielle Hill 13KF ...read more.

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