The Peel Web

I am happy that you are using this web site and hope that you found it useful. Unfortunately, the cost of making this material freely available is increasing, so if you have found the site useful and would like to contribute towards its continuation, I would greatly appreciate it. Click the button to go to Paypal and make a donation.


A political designation, the meaning of which is complex and ambivalent. Originally applied to Catholic bandits in Ireland, it was used derisively in the seventeenth century to characterise defenders of the principals of hereditary succession to the crown and non-resistance to the monarch.

During the eighteenth century it was applied to conservatives who insisted upon

Less well organised as a political party than their opponents the Whigs, the Tories fell into disarray after the Glorious Revolution in 1688. They remained a significant power in parliament through the reigns of William and Mary and Queen Anne, a sizeable block of members bound together by mutual adherence to

The Tories came to power briefly during Anne's reign, but were undone in 1714 by their manifestly Jacobite tendencies.

The Tory power base was the conservative rural squirearchy, which was violently opposed to the taxation required to pay for the wars with France. The Whigs stood to profit by these wars since their main support came from the growing middle classes. It was not until 1784 that the followers of Pitt returned the Tories to power - although Pitt always called himself a Whig. After the French Revolution the Tories increasingly came to be seen as a party of reaction, and eventually lost power in 1830 after passing the Catholic Emancipation Act (terms of the Act are here) and following the Duke of Wellington's speech in November 1830 in which he opposed parliamentary reform. In the 1830s Peel attempted to modernise the Tory party based on some new principles. He called it the Conservative Party; although that remained the Party's official title, its members are still popularly known as Tories.

Meet the web creator

These materials may be freely used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with applicable statutory allowances and distribution to students.
Re-publication in any form is subject to written permission.

Last modified 4 March, 2016

The Age of George III Home Page

Ministerial Instability 1760-70

Lord North's Ministry 1770-82

American Affairs 1760-83

The period of peace 1783-92

The Age of the French Wars 1792-1815 Irish Affairs 1760-89

Peel Web Home Page

Tory Governments 1812-30

Political Organisations in the Age of Peel

Economic Affairs in the Age of Peel

Popular Movements in the Age of Peel

Irish Affairs
Primary sources index British Political Personalities British Foreign policy 1815-65 European history
index sitemap advanced
search engine by freefind