Presentation on theme: "Peel as Prime Minister 1841 – 1846"— Presentation transcript:
1 Peel as Prime Minister 1841 – 1846 How successful?
2 Overview Social Issues Problems facing Peel in 1841 The Budgets of 1842 and 1845Income TaxFinancial Reform and Industrial ReformsThe Bank Charter ActThe Companies ActSocial IssuesPeel and IrelandThe Irish Famine, Maynooth, Daniel O'Connell etc.Peel and the Corn LawsInfluence of the Anti Corn Law LeagueRepeal of the Corn LawsThe collapse of the Conservative Party.
3 Problems in 1841? Economic problems The Reform of Banks etc £7.5 million deficitFree Trade or not Free TradeCorn LawsReintroduction of Income TaxWho to tax, how muchPopulation shiftThe Reform of Banks etc
4 Social Problems Social unrest Middle Classes – unhappy with the Whigs Working class unrest – ChartismExtreme poverty, unemployment, high taxes, low wages, lack of education, working conditions, poor food, living conditions
5 Political problems Ireland Potential internal splits – free trade Peels resistance to further political reformmiddle classesWorking classesRadical threat – Chartism, Anti Corn Law LeagueIrelandHome Rule for Ireland, famine, the Irish diaspora
6 Solutions: The Economy Solving the Economic problems was central to Peels government. Economic slump, poor harvests, high prices, financial crisis etcPeel had to address these issues if he was to successfully address the many social issues.
7 The Budgets and Free Trade The issue of Free TradeThe Whigs had failed to make any progress and over 1200 goods were still subject to tariffs. Peel came under the influence of the Manchester Group – who believed tariffs were stifling industryThe higher taxes on imported goods the higher the cost of production – so prices were kept high – hitting the poor.Also Foreign countries resented the tariffs so were unwilling to trade.Peel “ We need to make this country a cheap place to live in”
8 The Budgets 1842 and 1845The budgets swept away a large proportion of the remaining duties.Duties removed form over 600 itemsDuties greatly reduced on 500 othersNo longer any export dutiesNo import duties on raw cotton, livestock meat potatoesDuty on cheese imported from the colonies reduced from 10 shillings to 1 shilling per hundred weight
9 Income TaxIncome tax was reintroduced at a rate of 7p in the £ on incomes over £150 per year. (should have only lasted 3 years)
10 Financial Reforms The Bank Charter Act 1844 The banking system was unstable – any bank could issue notes with any face value, without the gold reserves to support the value.Key features of the ActNo new banks could issue notesExisting banks were restricted in issuing notesBank of England could issue notes to the value of £14 million anything beyond that figure had to covered by Gold reserves.
11 Financial Reforms The Companies Act 1844 This act placed controls on the formation of companies. All companies had to be officially registered and produce accounts.Limited success but some companies – those who needed special approval from Parliament were exempt.
12 How successful were the economic reforms? The BudgetsWorked exactly as Peel wanted – a trade revival followed, exports increased, unemployment fell, food ( not bread) became much cheaper.Income TaxTogether with the trade reforms – the deficit of the Whigs was turned into a £2 million surplus.
13 How successful were the economic reforms? The Bank Charter ActVery successful, eventually only the Bank of England issued notes, and controlled the amount of currency in circulation. The £ became stable and London the monetary centre of the world.Peel’s reforms moved Britain into a golden age of prosperity that was to last until 1875.
14 Social ReformsPeel was aware of the terrible conditions in some factories and towns.Peel did not want to pass laws – it would be more effective to let the economic policies bear fruit.Peel did not want to lose the support of the middle class business men.
15 Pressure for social reform 1842 – Unemployment reached its peakUnrest led by the ChartistsPressure from Lord Shaftsbury – the 10 hour movement.Pressure from Edwin Chadwick – investigation into public health.
16 Extent of Reform Mines Act 1842 – result of report on child labour. Terms of Act – limits women working mines, and children under 10.10 hours a dayFactory Act 1844 – limits working to 10 hoursRailway Act 1844 – limits cost of travel some trains 1p per mileBaths and Wash House Act 1846 – provision of low cost local wash houses.
17 Limits of the Reforms Was Peel a reluctant reformer? Peel refused to further amend the Poor Law1842 Mines Act – a step forward but only one inspector for the whole country.Peel’s resistance to reducing daily working hours for women to 10, on the grounds it would harm the economy.No legislation to combat the problem of public health.All the reforms came from external pressure and not from Peel, Peel do not like Government intervention.
18 Ireland (Read the sample essay) Ireland has been a constant theme in British history since the Norman conquest and Peel like those before him had to deal with the Irish Question. His actions over Catholic Emancipation led people to believe he could be pushed into further reform.
19 Daniel O’ConnellIn Irish politics O’Connell, now 65, was losing influence to a group called Young Ireland, who favoured the use of physical force to free Ireland.O’Connell staged a last attempt to force the British to repeal the Act of Union, by a policy of agitation and the threat of Civil War. He addressed mass meetings, Tara in 1841, and the climax to the campaign was to be a monster meeting at Clontarf in 1843.
20 The response of PeelPeel was not going to be frightened into giving wayHe announced that the Union would never be cancelled and any rebellion crushed.The meeting at Clontarf was banned.O’Connell now face a difficult choiceMeet and be charged with rebellionCancel and be called a traitor by Young Ireland
21 O’Connell called the meeting off, Peel had out manoeuvred him. O’Connell had misjudged the mood of the people and Peel.Ireland was not on the verge of Civil War.O’Connell was arrested imprisoned but released on appeal. But the defeat was the end of him as a political force.
22 Peel and Ireland: other reforms Peel combined the firm line with mild concessions.Devon Commission – to investigate problems of land holding. Reported in 1845, but no time to act before the Government fell.Maynooth Grant – to please the Catholics Peel increased the grant t Maynooth, which trained priests, from £9000 to £ This move was not popular with the protestants and only passed with the support of the Whigs.
23 Impact of Ireland on Peel and his Party. Irish affairs had deeply divided the Conservative Party.Peel had not be able to tackle the country's basic poverty.Worse was to come, in 1845 the Irish potato crop had failed, famine was imminentRepeal of the Corn Laws now seemed vital.
24 The struggle to repeal the Corn Laws. The Anti Corn Law LeagueWhoMethodsActivitiesArguments for and against repealStages of repealEffects of repealWhy was the Anti Corn Law League successful?
25 The Anti Corn Law League Leaders – Cobden and BrightMethods – non – violent, always within the law. Propaganda newspaper, leaflets, mass meetings, new postal systemActivities – mass meetings, 136 in 1843, divided country into areas, paid agents, fund raising from the middle class, petitions, get representation in Parliament.
26 Arguments for and against repeal They were a restraint on Free Trade, kept food prices high, the rich gained at the expense of the poor.If bread prices fall, real wages would increase, workers could buy more with the same money.Improve the competitiveness of British FarmersIf we imported foreign corn, we could export more goods.Improved trade would improve international relations.Response to the Famine
27 Arguments for and against repeal Cheap foreign corn would ruin British farmersUnemployment would rise in agricultural workersDemographic shift to the towns, overcrowding etc.Dependence on imports could be a problem in a war.Manufactures only wanted cheaper bread so they could pay lower wages.
28 Stages of repeal1841 – election of Abolitionist MP’s forced Peel to slightly reduce dutiesBetween 1842 – 45 Peel became convinced of the need for Repeal – British farming needed to modernise to keep pace with industryPeel was faced with the problem of leading a party committed to the Corn Laws1845 – Irish famine, imported maize did not solve the issue, Scottish and English potato crop also fail
29 Peel told Cabinet that repeal of the Corn Laws was only way to solve famine. Debate as to whether Peel actually believed this or used it as an excuse to force reform. Peel was not supported and resigned in December 1845.Whigs led by Russell form a Government, Peel is outside the debate. Introduces a Repeal Bill, debated in Parliament for 5 months, Peel under attack from Protectionists led by Disraeli, Peel accused of betrayal.Repeal Bill passed in 1846 – only with Whig support.Wellington got the bill through the Lords
30 Effects of repealNo dramatic drop in prices – poor harvests were Europe wideNo real impact on British farmersBritish Farmers did modernise – and could cope with the increase demand for food – so more profits.Trade improvedNo impact on the Irish FamineDestroyed Peel and the Conservative Party
31 Why was the Anti Corn Law League successful? Single issueConservative Party were splitSupport form the industrial middle class – funds for the campaignTop blokes in charge – Cobden and BrightIrish FamineACLL used all the tools they had – a nationwide campaign.
32 A final analysis of Peel Was Peel a successful Prime Minister?Did Peel betray his Party?Did Peel put the nation above party politics?
33 Was Peel a successful Prime Minister? Yes (page 210, Box 7.12)His policies led to an age of prosperity – financial stability, trade revived,He restored confidence in politics – out manoeuvred the Chartists and O’ConnellHe was a progressive reformer? Accepted things he had previously opposedHe was a man of principleNoa one trick pony – all his faith in free tradeNone of the ideas were his – in fact he often started by opposing many things he later accepted.
34 Did Peel betray his Party? NoThe new party under his leadership adapted to the demands of the 1840’sHe didn’t destroy he created – gave the party a sense of purposePeelite supporters remained within the party even after 1846.YesPeel sacrificed his party on many occasions1829, 1834, 1842, 1845Ignored traditional party values – landed interestIrelandThe Corn Laws
35 Did Peel put the nation above party politics? YesPeel was more concerned with good government that catered for all the people even at the risk of being unpopular in his own Party. His policies were designed to draw moderates away from extremes.Peel gave the Party a national appeal and national leadership, he was a hero of the new enfranchised classes
36 NoBut remember the ultimate responsibility that lies with him