How Liberal Were the Policies of the Tory Party from 1822-1830

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How Liberal were the policies of the Tory party from 1822-1830? Some historians have argued that Liverpool’s government was very reactionary and made very few reforms. But they don’t consider, in particular, Liverpool’s alterations to the prison system and the Combination Acts, having said that the absence of a Liberal party makes it difficult to really characterise the policies introduced by the government in the context of the era. Our judgement is made more difficult by the conflicting motivations of some of the reforms, for example the passing of Catholic penal laws may’ve been liberal in effect but the motivation behind it was very much conservative. So I would have to say that the policies were mostly Tory throughout this period although as I’ve said, there are a number of mitigating factors which could hinder this judgement. The historian Evans is negative towards the idea that Liverpool’s “second wave” was indeed liberal, he comments that few ministers changed their positions and argues that the Liberal frameworks would’ve been placed by the supposed reactionary “first wave”. Liverpool passed an Act increasing the voting qualification of Irishmen from 40 shillings to £10. To me this sticks out as highly reactionary as it was passed in the hope of preventing lower class Irishmen voting radicals into parliament. It is a direct way to prevent any significant change to the government personnel. Many of the members of parliament perceived as reactionary did indeed remain in government; Eldon, Sidmouth, Vandittart and Peel all remained in Liverpool’s cabinet. Their presence must be justified if we are to proclaim the government and in principal the policies themselves weren’t reactionary. Violent action against strikes and demonstrations was deemed reactionary as it was against the idea of change, between 1825 and 1826 11 people were killed in public
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