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To What extent were the Tories Liberal and enlightened in the period 1822-1827?

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Introduction

To What extent were the Tories Liberal and enlightened in the period 1822-1827? The terms liberal and enlightened can be used to describe a number of different views, at this time they would have been the freedom of religion, political rights, the right to free expression and free trade. After the cabinet reshuffle of 1822 the newly formed cabinet made some changes which backed some of these views, but some they did not back. Traditional historians see the period before 1822 as repressive with the government trying to restore law and order whereas the historians see the period 1822-1827 as liberal and enlightened which are associated with the economic policies and reforms of the "second wave" ministers. The second wave ministers had all served in the repressive periods. Indeed we can recognize the changes made with Evans's view that "Liverpool's government had never experienced anything so cathartic as an ideological conversion". We can tell that there was no change in direction after the 1822 reshuffle. This reshuffle came about after the suicide of Lord Castlereagh which forced Lord Liverpool into the changes. These changes were to replace Castlereagh with Canning as foreign secretary and leader of House of Commons. ...read more.

Middle

His actions brought back the direction heading for free trade with other countries. The actions that he took which led us to believe that he wanted free trade were that he helped to form a number of reciprocity treaties with foreign governments which put lowered the import duties on vast numbers of goods. He also removed restrictions on the trade of British Colonies. This meant they could trade directly with foreign countries, instead of trading via Britain first. This allowed an imperial preference system where the duties were lower in Britain than anywhere else so this encouraged trade with the British Empire. Huskisson also modified an absolute set of restrictions known as the Navigation Laws. These laws said that imported goods which before the modification had to be imported on British ships no longer had to be. As a result the high duties on British ships in European ports were stopped. This allowed more foreign trade. Finally Huskisson modified the 1815 Corn Laws. He introduced a sliding scale of import duties in 1828. This meant that if British wheat was selling at 73s a quarter, there would be no duty on imported foreign wheat, as the price fell, the duty increased. ...read more.

Conclusion

After Lord Liverpool resigned in March 1827 after suffering from a stroke Canning took over but there was mass resignations in the government because they did not agree with Canning's policies towards catholic emancipation and foreign affairs. There was great controversy over whether to give Roman Catholics political rights. Although we can say that the second wave of ministers were partly liberal and enlightened in their views and actions they didn't take enough action on other issues and matters with which we could give them this title of liberal and enlightened. They failed to address the awful conditions in the factories, child labour and dangers of mines. They also ignored reforms of parliament, health, poverty and education. In conclusion I can say that the second waves of ministers were liberal and enlightened in certain areas but in other important areas they failed to address the problems. We can see this from their blatant ignoring of the problems with the problems with Catholic Emancipation and taking no action with the problems with parliament, health etc.. We can also say that there actions were extremely open-minded compared to the actions taken by ministers before them. But they however ignored important issues. After 1822 the ministers sought to restore free trade, to protect and to strengthen law and order. ...read more.

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