Liberal Tories

This sample essay on Liberal Tories provides important aspects of the issue and arguments for and against as well as the needed facts. Read on this essay’s introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion.

A member of the Tory party believes that the monarch and the Church of England is supreme and will respect their authority. Tories are against parliamentary, and social reform, and due to their belief in the superiority of the protestant church of England, they are also strongly against Catholic emancipation, they did not think that Catholics should have the same rights as others just because of their religion.

On the other hand, a Liberal favours individual liberty, free trade and moderate parliamentary and social reform, generally, they are not against Catholic emancipation.

In conclusion, a Tory and a Liberal have completely opposite beliefs; therefore will be on different sides of the government. Between 1822 and 1827, the Tory government set up many `Liberal’ reforms in order to try and improve the country’s economy and industry (especially trade).

The first set of reforms were the Economic policies. These reforms aimed to improve Britain’s trading position with the rest of the world based on the introduction of free trade (a liberal policy). Liverpool was known to support this idea, and he argued to reduce tariffs and taxes imposed on imports from abroad.

David Ricardo saw free trade as “a part of a national crusade to improve the economic condition of Britain”, and Adam Smith argued that “the less restrictions there are on the development of an economy, the more successful it would become.

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” The Reciprocity of Duties Act in 1823 was the first example of the new liberal reforms set out by the Tory government in order to improve Britain’s economy, and to stabilise the state. It attempted to change the navigation laws passed in the 17^th century designed to protect British ships from competition from the Dutch.

Reciprocity Of Duties Act

In response to this, any European ports excluded British ships from their ports, affecting British trade. The Reciprocity Act of 1823 overcame these obstacles by allowing free entry of foreign ships into Britain. The aim was that not only would it be seen as a gesture of goodwill abroad, it would also reduce the costs of imports to British manufactures hopefully resulting in an increase in the country’s GMP. The next step to improve British trading was to relax the restrictions on trade with Britain’s colonies, which had previously been under strict control.

As a result of Huskisson’s influence, the colonies ould now trade with foreign countries, however the government attempted to retain their support by ensuring that duties were lower on goods trading between Britain and the colonies than non-Imperial trade. The final economic reform set up by the new `Liberal Tory’ government was the reduction of domestic duties, influenced by Robinson. Robinson’s main focus was the reduction of import duties on a variety of raw materials, customs and excise duties. These reductions aimed to encourage demand and improve economic stability. Robinson managed to reduce indirect taxation on a variety of goods.

To some extent, all of these economic reforms do support the view of the new `Liberal Tory’ government. While improvements in the economy were intended to increase the standard of living, there also had to be improvements in the living and working conditions as well as an attempt to improve the legal system for the government to be labelled `Liberal Tory’. In 1824, the first of two major social reforms were set up; the repeal of the Combination Laws. Trade unions had been banned since 1799 because of the government belief that they posed a threat to the stability of the state.

However, in 1824, trade unions were set up to protect the interests of the workers against exploitation by the employer. Radical MPs such as Sir Francis Burdett and Joseph Hume believed that once workers rights were reinstated there would be an improvement in the relationship between employer and employee, as a result, in 1824, the combination laws were repealed. The penal code (the judicial system) was in desperate need of reform, over 200 offences carried the death penalty, even for just stealing a piece of bread.

Research has shown that some of these `criminals’ that ad been put to death were in fact innocent. The prisons were filthy and unkempt and in urgent need of improvement. Between 1823 and 1830, Peel as home security passed a whole series of reforms that transformed the rather outdated system he inherited. The penal code was modernised, and the death sentence was abolished for over 180 offences. In 1823, the Gaols (Jails) Act was passed, this improved conditions in the prisons. Finally, Peel established the Metropolitan police in 1829; this attempted to stem the alarming rise in crime in Britain.

Overall, the social and economic reforms set up between 1822 and 1827, do support the title `Liberal Tory’. But there were still many areas that needed reform that the government did not address, for example the lack of parliamentary reforms and catholic emancipation; making the improvements carried out seem less effective in improving the British economy and the people’s discontent. The title `Liberal Tory’ contradicts itself, making it seem almost impossible because Liberals and Tories are completely different parties with opposite beliefs and priorities.

Liberals favour ndividual liberty, free trade, and parliamentary and social reforms; as well as catholic emancipation. Tories, however support the monarchy and the Church of England, and are against parliamentary and social reform, and catholic emancipation. Liberals and Tories are as opposite as hot and cold, you cannot be both. Finally, although the Tories were responsible for many reforms throughout 1822-27, the period 1815-1822 was not as repressive in comparison as once thought.

The period 1822-1823 presented great change for the Tory party. In 1822, Canning replaced Castlereagh as foreign secretary; and Peel eplaced Sidmouth as Home secretary. In 1823, Robinson replaced Vansittart as Chancellor of the Exchequer; and Huskisson became the president of the board of trade. But although these men were new to their senior positions within the party, they were not new to the Tory government; “the new men did not regard their position as an opportunity to challenge government philosophy”-Evans.

The argument that “much of the groundwork for the reforms, adjustments and improvements had been put through in train by their allegedly reactionary predecessors and by themselves as subordinates. The real distinction is not philosophical but practical, Huskisson and Peel proved to be more able than their predecessors” does not support the party’s new title `Liberal Tory’, and at the same time supporting the argument that the period 1815-1822 was not as repressive as once thought.

Lord Liverpool, who was the British Prime Minister from 1812-1827 did not have the ability to create a new ideology, he was a consolidator rather then and innovator, and although he was responsible for keeping the Tory party together,(made evident by the gradual collapse of the Tory government after his resignation as Prime Minister in 1827, shortly before his death) he seemed happier to follow the guidelines of his predecessors then carry out any ideas of his own in order to try and improve the British economy.

Liverpool has been accused of creating unrest by introducing the corn laws and the repeal of income tax, Liverpool was not strong enough to pass the policy of income tax through the government. Liverpool’s weaknesses support the title of `Liberal Tory’ because it shows how the new Prime ministers were able to improve the economic and social stability of the state. Between 1822-1827 there were many reforms set up, mostly economic and social. For example, the repeal of the combination laws and the legal reforms as well as the improvements in trade and the reductions in domestic duties.

However, even though these reforms were liberal, there was no evidence of commitment to catholic emancipation and parliamentary reforms, which made the government’s policies less liberal. The Tories appeared to have set up the economic and social reforms in order to strengthen their rule, and to distract the people from the lack of catholic emancipation and parliamentary reforms. Another argument against the title `Liberal Tory’ is that some historians believe that there was more consistency than originally thought if 1815-22 was less repressive and 1822-27 was less Liberal.

This would mean that there was not such a drastic improvement in the stability of the country; and therefore the Tories would not have been as liberal as they had first appeared. The six acts in December 1819 were seen as one of the repressive acts between 1815-22, but the measures introduced were a “commonsense reaction to a dangerous situation and deserve to be looked at in a more positive light in erms of their supposed severity on the radical threat to the regime”. This quote supports the argument that the period 1815-22 was not as repressive as once thought.

Also, although there were many reforms set up between 1822-27, parliamentary reforms and catholic emancipation were not addressed with any seriousness. This evidence suggests that there was more consistency between 1815 and 1827 because it appears that the first half of this time was not as repressive as once thought and the second half of this period was not as liberal as once thought. In conclusion, compared to the previous actions of the Tory overnment, the reforms set up between 1822 and 1827 were more liberal then they had been previously.

However, the years 1815-1822 were less repressive then had previously thought, and although there had been many reforms in the later section that had helped to stabilise the state, there was no commitment to parliamentary reforms and catholic emancipation making the period 1822-1827 less liberal. This meant that overall there was more continuity in the years 1815-1827 and the policies and personalities of the members of the Tory cabinet had remained constant making the title `Liberal Tory’ less reliable.

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Liberal Tories. (2019, Dec 07). Retrieved from

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