British Political Timeline 1815-85

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1815 – End of Napoleonic wars against France

1816 – Spa Fields Meeting, London – Calls for reform; ended in riots and looting

1817 – Pentridge Rising – Failureof attempt to capture Nottingham castle by unemployed textile      workers                                                            

             The Blanketeers – A march to London by unemployed Manchester workers to present a petition to the Prince Regent; but was broken up by troops

1819 – Peterloo – Meeting in Field, Manchester, to demand parliamentary reform, broken up by force, killing 11 people and wounding many more

             The Six Acts – The government makes peaceful protest difficult

1829-30 – Distress in towns and countryside – High poor rates and high unemployment

1829 – Birmingham Political Union founded – Pressure group to focus and lead reform movements, many political unions formed

              Roman Catholic Relief Act – Roman Catholics given the right to vote in general elections and stand up for election in the House of Commons

1830 – Many leading London and provincial papers in favour of parliamentary reform

             General election returns Tory government – Majority greatly reduced (Wellington PM0; ministry later defeated on civil list vote and Wellington resigns, King asks Grey (a Whig leader) to form a government, Grey becomes Prime Minister

1831-32 – Cholera epidemic hits Britain – Roughly 32,000 people die

1831 – First Reform Bill – Passed Commons by one vote. Parliament dissolved and general election held

             General election – Whigs return with majority of 130    

             Second Reform Bill – Passed Commons easily; but thrown out of Lords, country erupts in violence

              Third Reform Bill – Passes easily; but Lords employ delaying tactics, Grey asks King to create pro-reform peers; King refuses, Grey resigns, country erupts in violence, Wellington fails to form a government, Grey back as PM and King agrees to create pro-reform peers, bill passes through Lords

1832 – Reform Bill becomes Reform Act

             Parliamentary Reform Act – Makes alterations to the franchise and distribution of seats

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             General election – 18 per cent of adult males entitled the vote, Whigs return to power

1834 – Tamworth Manifesto – Sets out Robert Peel’s vision for future Conservative Party, Peel becomes PM

1835 – General election - Peel leads a Conservative minority administration

             Lichfield House Compact – Combination of Whig, Irish and radical MPs bring down Peel’s government

             Municipal Corporations Act – Borough corporations, the body of people responsible for running the boroughs, to be elected annually, establishment of ...

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