To what extent was 1822 a turning point in British politics?
The year 1822 is seen by some as a key turning point in British politics as it saw the introduction of liberal Tories, enforcing liberal attitudes upon parliament. However, I would argue that 1822 was not a turning point, but rather a year of half-hearted enforcements of reforms in order to avoid political unrest.
In 1822, Lord Liverpool hoped that by introducing four key individuals, by the names of Canning, Peel, Huskisson and Robinson, into the cabinet, the social reforms they would introduce would reduce demand for political reform. I would argue that this decision would suggest continuity as opposed to change within the political system as it was a way for the Government to seem more liberal.
By introducing these individuals, the Tory Party saw an introduction of tolerance for new ideas and possibly even a new perspective. This alone can be argued as a reason for 1822 being a turning point; however the reforms these men progressed to introduce could initiate a wider view upon the argument. Liberal economic reforms that were put in place are the Reciprocity of Duties Act 1823, the relaxation of trade restriction and Robinson’s desire to reduce domestic duties. These all promoted free trade, hence attempting an improvement within the economy. Using Huskinson’s Corn Law scale, lower classes were dealt with during poor harvests. This suggests change and an argument for 1822 being a turning point in British politics as the country appeared to become more liberal.
Liberal Tories intended to improve social conditions in order for the Government to be labelled as ‘Enlightened Tory.’ Home Office reforms such as the Repeal of the Combination Act were introduced, granting workers the right to express their grievances through trade unions, and a reform enabling a fairer justice system was set up, stopping hundreds of minor crimes leading to the death penalty. It was these kinds of reforms that allow 1822 to...