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The Breakthrough of Liberalism in the West: Great Britain. Section 11.54, 11.56 & 57 McKay Ch 23 (772-775). Great Britain 1815-1850. -London Police Force formed (1828) -Catholic Emancipation Act (1829). Great Exhibition in Crystal Palace (1851). Corn Law passed.

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the breakthrough of liberalism in the west great britain

The Breakthrough of Liberalism in the West: Great Britain

Section 11.54, 11.56 & 57

McKay Ch 23 (772-775)

great britain 1815 1850
Great Britain 1815-1850

-London Police Force formed (1828)

-Catholic Emancipation Act (1829)

Great Exhibition in Crystal Palace (1851)

Corn Law passed

Chartists issue Six Points (1836)

Factory Act of 1853

Mines Act (1842)

1815 1820 1825 1830 1835 1840 1845 1850

-Irish Potato Famine begins

-Corn Laws repealed (1846)

-Peterloo Massacre (1819)

-Six Acts Passed

-Cato Street Conspiracy

Ten Hour Act (1847

Great Reform Bill (1832)

corn laws
Corn Laws
  • Landed classes feared an onrush of imported agricultural goods and the collapse of farm prices
  • Passed 1st in series of “Corn Laws” (1815-1846)
    • tariff on imported (grain) that maintained high prices for domestic produce
  • Stopped importation of cheaper foreign grains
  • Helped Tory aristocrats
  • Wages could not keep up with prices
  • Contributes to the spread of radicalism

Peterloo Massacre

  • riot broke out in London in Dec 1816,
  • In Feb, the Prince Regent was attacked in carriage
  • Coercion Acts of 1817
    • gov suspends habeas corpus and employ agents provocateurs (spies) to charge radicals
    • Allowed arbitrary arrest and punishment
    • Curtailed freedom of press and assembly
  • Manchester (1819)
    • Mass demonstration of 80 thousand at St. Peter’s Fields
    • Reformers demanded
      • Repeal of Corn Laws
      • universal male suffrage
      • annual elections of HOC
    • Perfectly orderly protest
    • Government cavalry rushed the crowed
      • fired on crowd
  • 11 killed, 400 wounded, including 113 women
  • called Peterloo Massacre in comparison to Waterloo
six acts 1819
Six Acts (1819)
  • Parliament laws meant to repress political agitators
    • Outlawed seditions and blasphemous literature
    • Stamp tax on newspapers
    • Search of private houses for arms
    • Restricted the right of public meetings

Arthur Thistlewood

cato street conspiracy 1820
Cato Street Conspiracy (1820)
  • Revolutionaries planned to blow up & assassinate the Tory cabinet
  • Caught by police on Cato Street (1820)
  • Five members of the Cato Street Conspiracy are hanged
  • Reactionary policies dug in to stop the flood of revolutionary spirit
  • Great Britain is on the verge of becoming a reactionary state
catholic emancipation act
Catholic Emancipation Act
  • Act of Union (1800)
  • Made Ireland part of the United Kingdom (Great Britain =England, Wales, & Scotland)
    • Now Irish Protestants (Anglicans) could vote
  • Penal Laws had excluded Irish Catholics from running for office or voting
  • Daniel O’Connell
    • Irish nationalist was elected to Parliament in 1828 (but legally could not take a seat)
  • Duke of Wellington feared nationalists revolt
  • Pushed through Catholic Emancipation Act
    • Catholics could now run for office
    • Provision in it required substantial property to vote
reform in great britain
Reform in Great Britain
  • Sir Robert Peel
  • Initiates Gaols Act of 1823
    • Prison reform bill
  • Capital punishment eliminated for about 100 offenses
  • Novel idea of a policed state
  • Paid professionals who were visible to help prevent crime
  • Sir Robert Peel (1788-1850)
  • Sponsored law for police on London streets (1829)
  • Known as “bobbies” or disparagingly as Peelers
  • But Liberal Tories could NOT:
    • question the Corn Laws
    • reform the House of Commons (representation)

Robert Peel

problems of representation
Problems of Representation
  • House of Commons does not represent the population or economy
  • Rotten Boroughs
    • Some boroughs were empty and had representation
    • one was under water in the North Sea
  • New factory towns were un-represented (Manchester)
  • Whigs propose reform bill on elections
  • Tories under Wellington (victor of Waterloo was most extreme conservative) refuse to act

Arthur Wellesley,

1st Duke of Wellington


1830 Whigs take over the ministry

Introduce a reform bill that is rejected

Whigs resign and Tories fail to take up leadership

Whigs return an reintroduce the bill and it passes the HOC but is rejected by the House of Lords

Uproar throughout the country and revolution seems eminent

Whigs get the king to threaten to increase the peerage in the HOL

House of Lords yields and Reform Bill of 1832 becomes law

reform bill of 1832
Reform Bill of 1832
  • Little impact on who voted (increased from about 500 to 800 thousand
  • Redistributed the seats in the HOC to include the industrial cities (Manchester)
    • Got rid of “rotten” boroughs
  • The rising middle class is gaining political representation
  • England sidesteps a revolution through the existence of Parliament
read thomas babington macaulay defends the great reform bill 685
Read Thomas Babington Macaulay defends the Great Reform Bill. (685)
  • Be prepared to discuss the corresponding questions.
britain after 1832
Britain after 1832
  • Reform Bill of 1832 did have some lasting effects
  • New business interests stand alongside the old aristocracy

Liberal Party develops

  • Aristocratic Whigs, radical industrialists, and liberal Tories

Conservative party

  • Tories, few old Whigs, and a few former radicals
  • Classic era to two party politics in England
  • 1833 Slavery is abolished
  • 1834 New Poor Law is passed
    • Provided relief for sick and aged (not able bodied)

Municipal corporations act

  • Helped cities manage urban life problems
  • Reforms in the Church of England
  • Redistribution of Church income in more equitable terms
tory counteroffensive
Tory counteroffensive
  • Tories become champions of the industrial workers
  • Publicized the social evils of rapid and ruthless industrialization
  • Humanitarian industrialists were sympathetic
  • Factory Act 1833 forbade child labor (under 9)
    • Paid inspectors to insure compliance
  • 1842 underground mine work was forbidden for women, girls, and boys under 10
  • 1847 the Ten Hours Act
    • limited the labor of women and children to 10 hours
  • eventually men only worked ten hours also
  • Liberal cotton magnate John Bright called Ten Hours Act a “delusion practiced on the working class”
  • it was against laissez-faire
anti corn law league 1838
Anti-Corn Law League (1838)
  • Anti-Corn Law Whigs argued against high prices for food
  • Causes high wages and make manufactures more expensive, high food prices
  • Pro-Corn Law Tories argued that Britain should avoid becoming too exclusively dependent on imported food
  • Modern political practices were employed by the Anti-Corn Law League to pressure the government
  • Headquartered in Manchester
  • it sent out lecturers, agitated newspapers, held political teas, open-air meetings
anti corn law league 18381
Anti-Corn Law League (1838)
  • 1846 the Tory ministry under Robert Peel yields and the Corn Law is repealed
  • Symbolizes the change in England’s government
  • Industrial interests are now firmly seated in government
  • Free trade is to become the rule
  • England becomes dependant on foreign imports of food
  • Industry became the mainstay of the British economy
  • workers transitioned to industrial jobs
  • manufactures, coal, shipping, and financial services become the basis of the new economy
  • Importing vital necessities from the rest of the world was the fuel for the system
  • Britain depended on the maintenance of free trade and naval power

Over London by RailGustave Doré c 1870. Shows the densely populated and polluted environments created in the new industrial cities

Coalbrookdale at night, 1801 :Artist: Philipp Jakob Loutherbourg

the Younger


Early Labor Movement

  • Chartist Movement (1838-48)
  • movement for political and social reform in the United Kingdom during the mid-19th century between 1838 and 1848
  • Reform Act 1832
    • gave the vote to a section of the male middle classes, but not to the "working class"
    • Six Points
      • universal male suffrage for all men aged 21 and over.
        • Contradicts ‘stake in society’ and property qualifications
      • A secret ballot.
      • No property qualification for elected members of Parliament (
      • Payment of MPs (
      • Equal constituencies i.e. the same number of voters in each constituency.
      • Annual Parliaments so that MPs could be held to account by their constituents.
chartism continued
Chartism continued
  • June 1839 Members presented petition to House of Commons
    • voted not to even hear the petitioners
    • Rioting ensued
  • 1848 presented a petition to Parliament
    • claimed to have only 1,957,496 signatures
    • Some were forgeries
      • Queen Victoria
      • Movement faded away
great exhibition
Great Exhibition
  • 1851 London was site of industrial fair
  • Held in Crystal Palace
  • Constructed of glass/iron
  • Visited by 6 million
  • Symbol of “workshop of the world”
  • 20% of entire world manufactured goods