The Age of George III
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Opposition to Liverpool's ministry from outside parliament
During the period 1812-22, it could be said that England suffered
more, economically, socially and politically, than during the French
Wars. Consequently there were a number of manifestations of discontent
and distress. There was opposition to the policies of Lord
Liverpool's government. This opposition came from
inside and outside parliament.Opposition to the government outside
parliament included that from
- William Cobbett, the son of
a farmer/innkeeper. He had been a ploughboy; became a soldier in Canada and
later one of the leading English journalists. In 1800 he started the Weekly
Political Register and in 1806 he: began to call himself a Radical, because
he hated the poor pay and worse conditions of farm labourers. The Register
became an important Radical paper. In 1816 he reduced the price
of the Register to 2d and sales rose to 60,000 a week. Politicians
called the Register 'twopenny trash'. In 1830, Cobbett's Rural
Rides exposed rural conditions. He opposed use of force by the
government and looked to parliament for redress of grievances; he advocated
annual parliaments and universal suffrage. Many Hampden Societies were set
up because of his influence.
- Henry 'Orator' Hunt, a Wiltshire farmer,
advocated annual parliaments, a secret ballot and universal suffrage. He was
an excellent speaker - especially as a demagogue/mob orator. He made speaking
tours of especially the north, to demand parliamentary reform. He was present
at the Peterloo Massacre
- Jeremy Bentham, the Utilitarian,
who criticised all that failed to serve its purpose and had himself stuffed
on his death (so you will have to follow this link, won't you...).
- Thomas Spence, a bookseller who died
in 1814. He advocated the nationalisation of land to alleviate distress. Spence
was a philosophical of the English revolutionary school.
- Arthur Thistlewood and the Watsons
- father and son - were followers of Spence, but of the 'physical force' school.
They were ardent republicans who discredited reform and lost much moderate
support for it. They had vague ideas about a general insurrection.
- The Manchester School of Economics
as epitomised by Richard Cobden,
John Bright and the Anti-Corn-Law
League, attacked protectionism and were followers of:
- David Ricardo, who died in 1823. From
1809 he argued that economic problems were a result of inflationary banking
policies. He was a forceful economist and radical critic of government who
won the support of a parliamentary select committee in 1811. Ricardo wanted
a metallic currency and deflation. In 1817 he published his Principles
of Political Economy and Taxation and in 1819 he was one : member of the
Bullion Committee of inquiry
(along with Peel and Huskisson)
which recommended return to Gold Standard. Ricardo wanted free
trade in corn to allow industry to expand. He also advocated reform of
the fiscal system.
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12 January, 2016