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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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Economical Reform in the ‘Decade’ of Reform, 1830–1841

Economical Reform in the ‘Decade’ of Reform, 1830–1841

(p.197) 6 Economical Reform in the ‘Decade’ of Reform, 1830–1841
The Waning of ‘Old Corruption’


Oxford University Press

Despite Tory fears, the Whig commitment to constitutional reform neither destroyed the authority of the traditional ruling élite nor devalued financial and administrative reforms as a means of preserving it. But it did mark a dramatic change in governing style. Two generations of Tories had sought to convince the people that a government which very few of them had chosen could rule efficiently and responsibly. The formation of a ministry pledged to retrenchment reform marked a crucial turning-point in high politics. Unlike most Tories, the Reform coalition trusted that thorough constitutional reform would not tear apart the social fabric. All radicals considered parliamentary reform to be the first necessity. Whig interventionism did not preclude administrative reform and retrenchment. In fact, the Whigs substantially added to the economical reforms that had been made during the long period of Tory rule.

Keywords:   Tory, economic reform, constitutional reform, administrative reforms, retrenchment, Whigs

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