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The Waning of ‘Old Corruption’The Politics of Economical Reform in Britain, 1779-1846$
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Philip Harling

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780198205760

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205760.001.0001

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The ‘Pitt System’ and the Revival of Economical Reform, 1806–1815

The ‘Pitt System’ and the Revival of Economical Reform, 1806–1815

(p.89) 4 The ‘Pitt System’ and the Revival of Economical Reform, 1806–1815
The Waning of ‘Old Corruption’


Oxford University Press

An onerous tax burden, a mounting debt, a seemingly endless military struggle, and further evidence of malfeasance in high places combined to stimulate the critique of ‘Old Corruption’ and to broaden the gap between popular political culture. From about the time of British politician William Pitt's death in 1806, a resurgent popular radical movement revived the traditional indictment of parasitism at the centre. It is stated that it was chiefly the Pitt ministry's wartime financial innovations that threatened the social hierarchy. While total wealth may well have increased, the artificial prosperity of wartime had led to dreadful social innovations. Inflation had brought about the almost entire extinction of the ancient country gentry, whose estates were being wallowed up by loan-jobbers, contractors, and others who had grown fat from playing the funds.

Keywords:   debt, tax, corruption, economical reform, Old Corruption, William Pitt

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