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What divided Whigs and Tories in the reigns of William III and Queen Anne (1688-1714)?

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Introduction

History Essay 2: Whigs & Tories Divided 2. What divided Whigs and Tories in the reigns of William III and Queen Anne (1688-1714)? The Glorious Revolution brought about numerous changes to Britain, and perhaps most significantly was the growth in power for parliament. This essay shall attempt to answer what divided the parliamentary parties, the Whigs and Tories, during the reign of William III and Queen Anne in the late 17th to early 18th century, whilst examining the history of the surrounding and subsequent future events of this divide. The political background of Britain prior to 1689 was in turmoil as a result of the upheaval of James II. Due to his pro-Catholic agenda, and for having a son who could continue this policy, William of Orange (later to be William the III) was invited to Britain to defend Protestantism and depose of James. In late 1688, he landed with an army and ousted James, letting him escape to France - this would cause subsequent problems later on. After Parliament was called, it was decided that the throne was vacant and in Mary's interests William became king (Trueman, 2000). After 1689 Parliament began to meet yearly, with a general election being every 2 years; the two parties, Whig and Tory, consistently contended with one another (it should be noted that these two parties existed prior to William and Anne's reign). The first of many issues which the Whigs and Tories were to disagree upon was of William as a successor to the throne, and the general Protestant succession which followed. ...read more.

Middle

The French's power slowly weakened after the Wars of The Spanish in 1713 succession and the coming of George I. The Whigs aimed not to secure borders, but expand out the way, in search of new lands and developing trade to create what would eventually become the British Empire (Yadav, 2010)�. The Tories were, predictably, opposing to these notions. Another issue which divided both parties was upon religion. The Whigs, though anti-Catholic by nature, were a lot more tolerant when compared with their Tory counterparts, as is to be expected - The Whigs recognised and tolerated Dissenters to a much greater extent than the Tories, who instead were divided on the issues of religion, with some supportive of restoring the Catholic monarchy (James II) as part of the Jacobite ideology and others highly anti-Catholic (Burchill, 1998). This split on religion was a big factor in leading to Tory distrust from the Jacobite revival attempts. One of the biggest issues, which can be easily seen when looking at the two parties in comparison throughout history, is their differing composition and organisation, as well as who supported them. The Whigs were generally all unified to the same cause - the removal of a Catholic monarch and the desire to develop Britain's economy and territory in expanding. The Tories were (arguably still are), 'old fashioned' in their attempts to lead a nation to glory, believing in a divine monarch ruler of British heritage who would uphold a British constitution, did not always agree together on every ...read more.

Conclusion

Union with Scotland in 1707 under Anne meant an increase in supply of troops (of which many successfully helped in defeating France), more potential trade with less competition from a direct neighbour and helped a social, cultural and economic revolution to Scotland in the form of the Scottish Enlightenment, increased education, more agricultural development and heavy Tobacco production in Glasgow, as well as the important population boom. After union there began a heavy emphasis upon the ideas of superiority and 'Britishness' to help establish Britain as conceptual idea to be feared and respected amongst other nations. It may be said all of this, the Union with Scotland, the vast overseas Empire and the heavy production and rapid industrialisation may not have been possible under the Tories due to their xenophobic ideology and somewhat fear of new technology and methods in desiring to stick to tradition (Jones)�. The Whigs, in this instance, truly owe it to themselves for their successive efforts in establishing the sense of a Britain and British Empire. Both Whigs and Tories had their differences, particularly on the split they had upon religious matters, the acceptance of foreigners and most significantly using and living by new ideas such as banking. This essay has conveyed the most notable differences they had during the reign of King William III and Queen Anne during the 17th and 18th centuries in relation to the past and future historical context. ...read more.

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