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Why were the Conservatives weak 1846 - 1865?

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Why were the Conservatives weak 1846 - 1865? The Conservatives were weak during the period of 1846 till 1865, because of 6 major factors: leadership problems, lack of popular policies, losing the Peelites, the dominance of Palmerston, the dominance of the Whigs and also the instability of the political system. There were leadership problems because Lord Derby (also known as Edward Stanley), was the leader of the Conservative party/ Protectionists in the House of Lords. He was a pessimistic and reluctant character, who didn't want to be a leader and was nicknamed 'jockey'. He didn't go to University or College, but was home tutored. ...read more.


If one of these politicians was in the Conservative party, then the Conservatives would me more politically stronger and there would be more challenge between the Conservatives and the Peelites. The Peelites took over after Peel's death and were Liberal minded Conservatives, who were almost like Whigs. Secondly, there was a lack of popular policies because it was seen that the Conservatives were tied to the same old policies. Protectionism was holding back the Conservative party, and an anything done for protection policy will prove to be a failure. The success of free trade showed the policy of the Protectionists as weak. ...read more.


On the other hand, there was the Conservatives, who were in favour of agricultural protection and didn't want changes. The instability of the political system was an important issue, as it was caused because of Peel's idea to abandon tariffs for agricultural producers (Repeal of the Corn Laws) and to adopt to free trade. Before 1846, the Conservatives had approximately 350 seats, Whigs had 280 roughly and the Radicals and others within this group had about 50 seats between them. After 1846, the Conservative party split into, Protectionists and Peelites. The Peelites had the experienced, talented people, who had the brains and were the most powerful. They held the balance, as whoever they support would win. The Peelites were most likely to favour the Whigs, as their ideas were a bit the same. ...read more.

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