Kingdom of Great Britain
The Kingdom of Great Britain called Great Britain, was a sovereign state in western Europe from 1 May 1707 to 31 December 1800. The state came into being following the Treaty of Union in 1706, ratified by the Acts of Union 1707, which united the kingdoms of England and Scotland to form a single kingdom encompassing the whole island of Great Britain and its outlying islands, with the exception of the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands; the unitary state was governed by a single parliament and government, based in Westminster. The former kingdoms had been in personal union since James VI of Scotland became King of England and King of Ireland in 1603 following the death of Elizabeth I, bringing about the "Union of the Crowns". After the accession of George I to the throne of Great Britain in 1714, the kingdom was in a personal union with the Electorate of Hanover; the early years of the unified kingdom were marked by Jacobite risings which ended in defeat for the Stuart cause at Culloden in 1746.
In 1763, victory in the Seven Years' War led to the dominance of the British Empire, to become the foremost global power for over a century and grew to become the largest empire in history. The Kingdom of Great Britain was replaced by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on 1 January 1801 with the Acts of Union 1800; the name Britain descends from the Latin name for the island of Great Britain, Britannia or Brittānia, the land of the Britons via the Old French Bretaigne and Middle English Bretayne, Breteyne. The term Great Britain was first used in 1474; the use of the word "Great" before "Britain" originates in the French language, which uses Bretagne for both Britain and Brittany. French therefore distinguishes between the two by calling Britain la Grande Bretagne, a distinction, transferred into English; the Treaty of Union and the subsequent Acts of Union state that England and Scotland were to be "United into One Kingdom by the Name of Great Britain", as such "Great Britain" was the official name of the state, as well as being used in titles such as "Parliament of Great Britain".
Both the Acts and the Treaty describe the country as "One Kingdom" and a "United Kingdom", which has led some much publications into the error of treating the "United Kingdom" as a name before it came into being in 1801. The websites of the Scottish Parliament, the BBC, others, including the Historical Association, refer to the state created on 1 May 1707 as the United Kingdom of Great Britain; the term United Kingdom was sometimes used during the 18th century to describe the state, but was not its name. The kingdoms of England and Scotland, both in existence from the 9th century, were separate states until 1707. However, they had come into a personal union in 1603, when James VI of Scotland became king of England under the name of James I; this Union of the Crowns under the House of Stuart meant that the whole of the island of Great Britain was now ruled by a single monarch, who by virtue of holding the English crown ruled over the Kingdom of Ireland. Each of the three kingdoms maintained laws.
Various smaller islands were in the king's domain, including the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. This disposition changed when the Acts of Union 1707 came into force, with a single unified Crown of Great Britain and a single unified parliament. Ireland remained formally separate, with its own parliament, until the Acts of Union 1800; the Union of 1707 provided for a Protestant-only succession to the throne in accordance with the English Act of Settlement of 1701. The Act of Settlement required that the heir to the English throne be a descendant of the Electress Sophia of Hanover and not be a Catholic. Legislative power was vested in the Parliament of Great Britain, which replaced both the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland. In practice it was a continuation of the English parliament, sitting at the same location in Westminster, expanded to include representation from Scotland; as with the former Parliament of England and the modern Parliament of the United Kingdom, the Parliament of Great Britain was formally constituted of three elements: the House of Commons, the House of Lords, the Crown.
The right of the English peerage to sit in the House of Lords remained unchanged, while the disproportionately large Scottish peerage was permitted to send only 16 representative peers, elected from amongst their number for the life of each parliament. The members of the former English House of Commons continued as members of the British House of Commons, but as a reflection of the relative tax bases of the two countries the number of Scottish representatives was reduced to 45. Newly created peers in the Peerage of Great Britain were given the automatic right to sit in the Lords. Despite the end of a separate parliament for Scotland, it retained its own laws and system of courts, As its own established Presbyterian Church, control over its own schools; the social structure was hierarchical, the same elite remain in control after 1707. Scotland continued to have its own excellent universities, with the strong intellectual community in Edinburgh, The Scottish Enlightenment had a major impact on British and European thinking.
As a result of Poynings' Law of 1495, the Parliament of Ireland was subordinate to the Parliament of England, after 1707 to the Parliament of Great Britain. The Westminster parliament's Declaratory Act 1719 (also called the Dependency of Ireland
Parliament of Ireland
The Parliament of Ireland was the legislature of the Lordship of Ireland, the Kingdom of Ireland, from 1297 until 1800. It was modelled on the Parliament of England and from 1537 comprised two chambers: the House of Commons and the House of Lords; the Lords were members of bishops. The Commons was directly elected, albeit on a restricted franchise. Parliaments met at various places in Leinster and Munster, but latterly always in Dublin: in Christchurch Cathedral, Dublin Castle, Chichester House, the Blue Coat School, a purpose-built Parliament House on College Green; the main purpose of parliament was to approve taxes that were levied by and for the Dublin Castle administration. Those who would pay the bulk of taxation, the clergy and landowners comprised the members. Only the "English of Ireland" were represented until the first Gaelic lords summoned during the 16th-century Tudor reconquest. Under Poynings' Law of 1495, all Acts of Parliament had to be pre-approved by the Irish Privy Council and English Privy Council.
Parliament supported the Irish Reformation and Catholics were excluded from membership and voting in penal times. The Constitution of 1782 amended Poynings' Law to allow the Irish Parliament to initiate legislation. In 1793 Catholics were re-enfranchised; the Acts of Union 1800 merged the Kingdom of Ireland and Kingdom of Great Britain into the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The parliament was merged with that of Great Britain. After the 12th-century Norman invasion of Ireland, administration of the Anglo-Norman Lordship of Ireland was modelled on that of the Kingdom of England. Magna Carta was extended in 1217 in the Great Charter of Ireland; as in England, parliament evolved out of the Magnum Concilium "great council" summoned by the king's viceroy, attended by the council and prelates. Membership was based on fealty to the king, the preservation of the king's peace, so the fluctuating number of autonomous Irish Gaelic kings were outside of the system; the earliest known parliament met at Kilkea Castle near Castledermot, County Kildare on 18 June 1264, with only prelates and magnates attending.
Elected representatives are first attested in 1297 and continually from the 14th century. In 1297, counties were first represented by elected knights of the shire. In 1299, towns were represented. From the 14th century a distinction from the English parliament was that deliberations on church funding were held in Parliament rather than in Convocation; the separation of the individually summoned lords from the elected commons had developed by the fifteenth century. The clerical proctors elected by the lower clergy of each diocese formed a separate house or estate in until 1537, when they were expelled for their opposition to the Irish Reformation; the 14th and 15th centuries saw shrinking numbers of those loyal to the crown, the growing power of landed families, the increasing inability to carry out judicial rulings, that all reduced the crown's presence in Ireland. Alongside this reduced control grew a "Gaelic resurgence", political as well as cultural. In turn this resulted in considerable numbers of the Hiberno-Norman Old English nobility joining the independent Gaelic nobles in asserting their feudal independence.
The crown's power shrank to a small fortified enclave around Dublin known as the Pale. The Parliament thereafter became the forum for the Pale community until the 16th century. Unable to implement and exercise the authority of the Parliament or the Crown's rule outside of this environ, under the attack of raids by the Gaelic Irish and independent Hiberno-Norman nobles, the Palesmen themselves encouraged the Kings of England to take a more direct role in the affairs of Ireland. Geographic distance, the lack of attention by the Crown because of the Hundred Years' War and the Wars of the Roses, the larger power of the Gaelic clans, all reduced the effectiveness of the Irish Parliament, thus worried that the Irish Parliament was being overawed by powerful landed families in Ireland like the Earl of Kildare into passing laws that pursued the agendas of the different dynastic factions in the country, in 1494, the Parliament encouraged the passing of Poynings' Law which subordinated Irish Parliament to the English one.
The role of the Parliament changed after 1541, when Henry VIII declared the Kingdom of Ireland and embarked on the Tudor conquest of Ireland. Despite an era which featured royal concentration of power and decreasing feudal power throughout the rest of Europe, King Henry VIII over-ruled earlier court rulings putting families and lands under attainder and recognised the privileges of the Gaelic nobles, thereby expanding the crown's de jure authority. In return for recognising the crown's authority under the new Kingdom of Ireland, the Gaelic-Anglo-Irish lords had their position legalised and were entitled to attend the Irish Parliament as equals under the policy of surrender and regrant; the Reformation in Ireland introduced in stages by the Tudor monarchs did not take hold in most of the country, did not affect the operation of parliament until after the papal bull Regnans in Excelsis of 1570. In 1537, the Irish Parliament approved both the Act of Supremacy, acknowledging Henry VIII as head of the Church and the dissolution of the monasteries.
Kingdom of Ireland
The Kingdom of Ireland was a client state of England and of Great Britain that existed from 1542 until 1800. It was ruled by the monarchs of England and of Great Britain in personal union with their other realms; the kingdom was administered from Dublin Castle nominally by the King or Queen, who appointed a viceroy to rule in their stead. It had its own legislature, legal system, state church; the territory of the Kingdom had been a lordship ruled by the kings of England, founded in 1177 after the Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland. By the 1500s the area of English rule had shrunk and most of Ireland was held by Gaelic Irish chiefdoms. In 1542, King Henry VIII of England was made King of Ireland; the English began establishing control over the island, which sparked the Desmond Rebellions and the Nine Years’ War. It was completed in the 1600s; the conquest involved confiscating land from the native Irish and colonising it with settlers from Britain. In its early years, the Kingdom had limited recognition, as no Catholic countries in Europe recognised Henry and his heir Edward as monarch of Ireland.
Catholics, who made up most of the population, were discriminated against in the Kingdom, which from the late 17th century was dominated by a Protestant Ascendancy. This discrimination was one of the main drivers behind several conflicts which broke out: the Irish Confederate Wars, the Williamite-Jacobite War, the Armagh disturbances and the Irish Rebellion of 1798; the Parliament of Ireland passed the Acts of Union 1800 by which it abolished itself and the Kingdom. The act was passed by the Parliament of Great Britain, it established the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on the first day of 1801 by uniting the Crowns of Ireland and of Great Britain. The papal bull Laudabiliter of Pope Adrian IV was issued in 1155, it granted the Angevin King Henry II of England the title Dominus Hibernae. Laudabiliter authorised the king to invade Ireland. In return, Henry was required to remit a penny per hearth of the tax roll to the Pope; this was reconfirmed by Adrian's successor Pope Alexander III in 1172.
When Pope Clement VII excommunicated the king of England, Henry VIII, in 1533, the constitutional position of the lordship in Ireland became uncertain. Henry declared himself the head of the Church in England, he had petitioned Rome to procure an annulment of his marriage to Queen Catherine. Clement VII refused Henry's request and Henry subsequently refused to recognise the Roman Catholic Church's vestigial sovereignty over Ireland, was excommunicated again in late 1538 by Pope Paul III; the Treason Act 1537 was passed to counteract this. Following the failed revolt of Silken Thomas in 1534–35, the lord deputy, had some military successes against several clans in the late 1530s, took their submissions. By 1540 most of Ireland seemed under the control of the king's Dublin administration. Henry was proclaimed King of Ireland by the Crown of Ireland Act 1542, an Act of the Irish Parliament; the new kingdom was not recognised by the Catholic monarchies in Europe. After the death of King Edward VI, Henry's son, the papal bull of 1555 recognised the Roman Catholic Queen Mary I as Queen of Ireland.
The link of "personal union" of the Crown of Ireland to the Crown of England became enshrined in Catholic canon law. In this fashion, the Kingdom of Ireland was ruled by the reigning monarch of England; this placed the new Kingdom of Ireland in personal union with the Kingdom of England. In line with its expanded role and self-image, the administration established the King's Inns for barristers in 1541, the Ulster King of Arms to regulate heraldry in 1552. Proposals to establish a university in Dublin were delayed until 1592. In 1593 war broke out, as Hugh O'Neill, earl of Tyrone, led a confederation of Irish lords and Spain against the crown, in what became known as the Nine Years' War. A series of stunning Irish victories brought English power in Ireland to the point of collapse by the beginning of 1600, but a renewed campaign under Charles Blount, Lord Mountjoy forced Tyrone to submit in 1603, completing the Tudor conquest of Ireland. In 1603 James VI King of Scots became James I of England, uniting the Kingdoms of England and Ireland in a personal union.
The political order of the kingdom was interrupted by the Wars of the Three Kingdoms starting in 1639. During the subsequent interregnum period, England and Ireland were ruled as a republic until 1660; this period saw the rise of the loyalist Irish Catholic Confederation within the kingdom and, from 1653, the creation of the republican Commonwealth of England and Ireland. The kingdom's order was restored 1660 with the restoration of Charles II. Without any public dissent, Charles's reign was backdated to his father's execution in 1649. Poynings' Law was repealed in 1782 in what came to be known as the Constitution of 1782, granting Ireland legislative independence. Parliament in this period came to be known as Grattan's Parliament, after the principal Irish leader of the period, Henry Grattan. Although Ireland had legislative independence, executive administration remained under the control of the executive of the Kingdom of Great Britain. In 1788 -- 89 a Regency crisis arose. Grattan wanted to appoint the Prince of Wales George
Treaty of Amiens
The Treaty of Amiens temporarily ended hostilities between France and the United Kingdom during the French Revolutionary Wars. It was signed in the city of Amiens on 25 March 1802 by Joseph Bonaparte and Marquess Cornwallis as a "Definitive Treaty of Peace." The consequent peace lasted only one year and was the only period of general peace in Europe between 1793 and 1814. Under the treaty, Britain recognised the French Republic. Together with the Treaty of Lunéville, the Treaty of Amiens marked the end of the Second Coalition, which had waged war against Revolutionary France since 1798; the War of the Second Coalition started well for the coalition, with successes in Egypt and Germany. After France's victories at the Battles of Marengo and Hohenlinden, Austria and Naples sued for peace, with Austria signing the Treaty of Lunéville. Horatio Nelson's victory at the Battle of Copenhagen on 2 April 1801 halted the creation of the League of Armed Neutrality and led to a negotiated ceasefire; the French First Consul, Napoleon Bonaparte, first made truce proposals to British foreign secretary Lord Grenville as early as 1799.
Because of the hardline stance of Grenville and Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger, their distrust of Bonaparte and obvious defects in the proposals, they were rejected out of hand. However, Pitt resigned in February 1801 over domestic issues and was replaced by the more accommodating Henry Addington. At that point, according to Schroeder, Britain was motivated by the danger of a war with Russia. Addington's foreign secretary, Robert Jenkinson, Lord Hawkesbury opened communications with Louis Guillaume Otto, the French commissary for prisoners of war in London through whom Bonaparte had made his earlier proposals. Hawkesbury stated. Otto under detailed instructions from Bonaparte, engaged in negotiations with Hawkesbury in mid-1801. Unhappy with the dialogue with Otto, Hawkesbury sent diplomat Anthony Merry to Paris, who opened a second line of communications with the French foreign minister, Talleyrand. By mid-September, written negotiations had progressed to the point that Hawkesbury and Otto met to draft a preliminary agreement.
On 30 September, they signed the preliminary agreement in London, published the next day. The terms of the preliminary agreement required Britain to restore most of the French colonial possessions that it had captured since 1794, to evacuate Malta and to withdraw from other occupied Mediterranean ports. Malta was to be restored to the Order of St. John, whose sovereignty was to be guaranteed by one or more powers, to be determined at the final peace. France was to restore Egypt to Ottoman control, to withdraw from most of the Italian peninsula and to agree to preserve Portuguese sovereignty. Ceylon a Dutch territory, was to remain with the British, Newfoundland fishery rights were to be restored to their prewar status. Britain was to recognise the Seven Islands Republic, established by France on islands in the Ionian Sea that are now part of Greece. Both sides were to be allowed access to the outposts on the Cape of Good Hope. In a blow to Spain, the preliminary agreement included a secret clause in which Trinidad was to remain with Britain.
News of the preliminary peace was greeted in Britain with fireworks. Peace, it was thought in Britain, would lead to the withdrawal of the income tax imposed by Pitt, a reduction of grain prices and a revival of markets. In November 1801, Cornwallis was sent to France with plenipotentiary powers to negotiate a final agreement; the expectation among the British populace that peace was at hand put enormous pressure on Cornwallis, something that Bonaparte realised and capitalised on. The French negotiators, Napoleon's brother Joseph as well as Talleyrand shifted their positions, leaving Cornwallis to write, "I feel it as the most unpleasant circumstance attending this unpleasant business that, after I have obtained his acquiescence on any point, I can have no confidence that it is settled and that he will not recede from it in our next conversation." The Batavian Republic, whose economy depended on trade, ruined by the war, appointed Rutger Jan Schimmelpenninck, its ambassador to France, to represent it in the peace negotiations.
He arrived in Amiens on 9 December. The Dutch role in the negotiations was marked by a lack of respect on the part of the French, who thought of them as a "vanquished and conquered" client whose present government "owed them everything."Schimmelpenninck and Cornwallis negotiated agreements on the status of Ceylon, to remain British. However, Joseph did not agree to their terms needing to consult with the First Consul on the matter. In January 1802, Napoleon travelled to Lyon to accept the presidency of the Italian Republic, a nominally-independent French client republic that covered northern Italy and had been established in 1797; that act violated the Treaty of Lunéville, in which Bonaparte agreed to guarantee the independence of the Italian Republic and the other client republics. He continued to support French General Pierre Augereau's reactionary coup d'état of 18 September 1801 in the Batavian Republic and its new constitution, ratified by a sham election and brought the republic into closer alignment with its dominant partner.
British newspaper readers followed the events, presented in strong moralising colours. Hawkesbury wrote of Bonaparte's action at Lyons that it was a "gross b
Wales is a country, part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain. It is bordered by England to the east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, the Bristol Channel to the south, it had a population in 2011 of 3,063,456 and has a total area of 20,779 km2. Wales has over 1,680 miles of coastline and is mountainous, with its higher peaks in the north and central areas, including Snowdon, its highest summit; the country has a changeable, maritime climate. Welsh national identity emerged among the Britons after the Roman withdrawal from Britain in the 5th century, Wales is regarded as one of the modern Celtic nations. Llywelyn ap Gruffudd's death in 1282 marked the completion of Edward I of England's conquest of Wales, though Owain Glyndŵr restored independence to Wales in the early 15th century; the whole of Wales was annexed by England and incorporated within the English legal system under the Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542. Distinctive Welsh politics developed in the 19th century. Welsh liberalism, exemplified in the early 20th century by Lloyd George, was displaced by the growth of socialism and the Labour Party.
Welsh national feeling grew over the century. Established under the Government of Wales Act 1998, the National Assembly for Wales holds responsibility for a range of devolved policy matters. At the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, development of the mining and metallurgical industries transformed the country from an agricultural society into an industrial nation. Two-thirds of the population live in South Wales, including Cardiff, Swansea and the nearby valleys. Now that the country's traditional extractive and heavy industries have gone or are in decline, Wales' economy depends on the public sector and service industries and tourism. Although Wales shares its political and social history with the rest of Great Britain, a majority of the population in most areas speaks English as a first language, the country has retained a distinct cultural identity and is bilingual. Over 560,000 Welsh language speakers live in Wales, the language is spoken by a majority of the population in parts of the north and west.
From the late 19th century onwards, Wales acquired its popular image as the "land of song", in part due to the eisteddfod tradition. At many international sporting events, such as the FIFA World Cup, Rugby World Cup and the Commonwealth Games, Wales has its own national teams, though at the Olympic Games, Welsh athletes compete as part of a Great Britain team. Rugby union is seen as an expression of national consciousness; the English words "Wales" and "Welsh" derive from the same Germanic root, itself derived from the name of the Gaulish people known to the Romans as Volcae and which came to refer indiscriminately to all non-Germanic peoples. The Old English-speaking Anglo-Saxons came to use the term Wælisc when referring to the Britons in particular, Wēalas when referring to their lands; the modern names for some Continental European lands and peoples have a similar etymology. In Britain, the words were not restricted to modern Wales or to the Welsh but were used to refer to anything that the Anglo-Saxons associated with the Britons, including other non-Germanic territories in Britain and places in Anglo-Saxon territory associated with Britons, as well as items associated with non-Germanic Europeans, such as the walnut.
The modern Welsh name for themselves is Cymry, Cymru is the Welsh name for Wales. These words are descended from the Brythonic word combrogi, meaning "fellow-countrymen"; the use of the word Cymry as a self-designation derives from the location in the post-Roman Era of the Welsh people in modern Wales as well as in northern England and southern Scotland. It emphasised that the Welsh in modern Wales and in the Hen Ogledd were one people, different from other peoples. In particular, the term was not applied to the Cornish or the Breton peoples, who are of similar heritage and language to the Welsh; the word came into use as a self-description before the 7th century. It is attested in a praise poem to Cadwallon ap Cadfan c. 633. In Welsh literature, the word Cymry was used throughout the Middle Ages to describe the Welsh, though the older, more generic term Brythoniaid continued to be used to describe any of the Britonnic peoples and was the more common literary term until c. 1200. Thereafter Cymry prevailed as a reference to the Welsh.
Until c. 1560 the word was spelt Kymry or Cymry, regardless of whether it referred to the people or their homeland. The Latinised forms of these names, Cambrian and Cambria, survive as lesser-used alternative names for Wales and the Welsh people. Examples include the Cambrian Mountains, the newspaper Cambrian News, the organisations Cambrian Airways, Cambrian Railways, Cambrian Archaeological Association and the Royal Cambrian Academy of Art. Outside Wales, a related form survives as the name Cumbria in North West England, once a part of Yr Hen Ogledd; the Cumbric language, thought to
Parliament of the United Kingdom
The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland known internationally as the UK Parliament, British Parliament, or Westminster Parliament, domestically as Parliament, is the supreme legislative body of the United Kingdom, the Crown dependencies and the British Overseas Territories. It alone possesses legislative supremacy and thereby ultimate power over all other political bodies in the UK and the overseas territories. Parliament is bicameral but has three parts, consisting of the Sovereign, the House of Lords, the House of Commons; the two houses meet in the Palace of Westminster in the City of Westminster, one of the inner boroughs of the capital city, London. The House of Lords includes two different types of members: the Lords Spiritual, consisting of the most senior bishops of the Church of England, the Lords Temporal, consisting of life peers, appointed by the Sovereign on the advice of the Prime Minister, of 92 hereditary peers, sitting either by virtue of holding a royal office, or by being elected by their fellow hereditary peers.
Prior to the opening of the Supreme Court in October 2009, the House of Lords performed a judicial role through the Law Lords. The House of Commons is an elected chamber with elections to 650 single member constituencies held at least every five years under the first-past-the-post system; the two Houses meet in separate chambers in the Palace of Westminster in London. By constitutional convention, all government ministers, including the Prime Minister, are members of the House of Commons or, less the House of Lords and are thereby accountable to the respective branches of the legislature. Most cabinet ministers are from the Commons, whilst junior ministers can be from either House. However, the Leader of the House of Lords must be a peer; the Parliament of Great Britain was formed in 1707 following the ratification of the Treaty of Union by Acts of Union passed by the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland, both Acts of Union stating, "That the United Kingdom of Great Britain be represented by one and the same Parliament to be styled The Parliament of Great Britain".
At the start of the 19th century, Parliament was further enlarged by Acts of Union ratified by the Parliament of Great Britain and the Parliament of Ireland that abolished the latter and added 100 Irish MPs and 32 Lords to the former to create the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The Royal and Parliamentary Titles Act 1927 formally amended the name to the "Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland", five years after the secession of the Irish Free State in 1922. With the global expansion of the British Empire, the UK Parliament has shaped the political systems of many countries as ex-colonies and so it has been called the "Mother of Parliaments". However, John Bright – who coined the epithet – used it in reference to the political culture of "England" rather than just the parliamentary system. In theory, the UK's supreme legislative power is vested in the Crown-in-Parliament. However, the Crown acts on the advice of the Prime Minister and the powers of the House of Lords are limited to only delaying legislation.
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was created on 1 January 1801, by the merger of the Kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland under the Acts of Union 1800. The principle of ministerial responsibility to the lower House did not develop until the 19th century—the House of Lords was superior to the House of Commons both in theory and in practice. Members of the House of Commons were elected in an antiquated electoral system, under which constituencies of vastly different sizes existed. Thus, the borough of Old Sarum, with seven voters, could elect two members, as could the borough of Dunwich, which had completely disappeared into the sea due to land erosion. Many small constituencies, known as pocket or rotten boroughs, were controlled by members of the House of Lords, who could ensure the election of their relatives or supporters. During the reforms of the 19th century, beginning with the Reform Act 1832, the electoral system for the House of Commons was progressively regularised.
No longer dependent on the Lords for their seats, MPs grew more assertive. The supremacy of the British House of Commons was reaffirmed in the early 20th century. In 1909, the Commons passed the so-called "People's Budget", which made numerous changes to the taxation system which were detrimental to wealthy landowners; the House of Lords, which consisted of powerful landowners, rejected the Budget. On the basis of the Budget's popularity and the Lords' consequent unpopularity, the Liberal Party narrowly won two general elections in 1910. Using the result as a mandate, the Liberal Prime Minister, Herbert Henry Asquith, introduced the Parliament Bill, which sought to restrict the powers of the House of Lords; when the Lords refused to pass the bill, Asquith countered with a promise extracted from the King in secret before the second general election of 1910 and requested the creation of several hundred Liberal peers, so as to erase the Conservative majority in the House of Lords. In the face of such a threat, the House of Lords narrowly passed the bill.
The Parliament Act 1911, as it became, prevented the Lords from blocking a money bill, allowed them to delay any other bill for a maximum of three sessions, after which it could become law over their objections. However, regardless of the Parliament Acts of 1911 and 1949, t
Whigs (British political party)
The Whigs were a political faction and a political party in the parliaments of England, Great Britain and the United Kingdom. Between the 1680s and 1850s, they contested power with the Tories; the Whigs' origin lay in constitutional opposition to absolute monarchy. The Whigs played a central role in the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and were the standing enemies of the Stuart kings and pretenders, who were Roman Catholic; the Whigs took full control of the government in 1715 and remained dominant until King George III, coming to the throne in 1760, allowed Tories back in. The Whig Supremacy was enabled by the Hanoverian succession of George I in 1714 and the failed Jacobite rising of 1715 by Tory rebels; the Whigs purged the Tories from all major positions in government, the army, the Church of England, the legal profession and local offices. The Party's hold on power was so strong and durable, historians call the period from 1714 to 1783 the age of the Whig Oligarchy; the first great leader of the Whigs was Robert Walpole, who maintained control of the government through the period 1721–1742 and whose protégé Henry Pelham led from 1743 to 1754.
Both parties began as loose groupings or tendencies, but became quite formal by 1784 with the ascension of Charles James Fox as the leader of a reconstituted Whig Party, arrayed against the governing party of the new Tories under William Pitt the Younger. Both parties were founded on rich politicians more than on popular votes, there were elections to the House of Commons, but a small number of men controlled most of the voters; the Whig Party evolved during the 18th century. The Whig tendency supported the great aristocratic families, the Protestant Hanoverian succession and toleration for nonconformist Protestants, while some Tories supported the exiled Stuart royal family's claim to the throne and all Tories supported the established Church of England and the gentry. On, the Whigs drew support from the emerging industrial interests and wealthy merchants, while the Tories drew support from the landed interests and the royal family. However, by the first half of the 19th century the Whig political programme came to encompass not only the supremacy of parliament over the monarch and support for free trade, but Catholic emancipation, the abolition of slavery and expansion of the franchise.
The 19th century Whig support for Catholic emancipation was a complete reversal of the party's historic anti-Catholic position at its late 17th century origin. The term "Whig" was short for "whiggamor", a term meaning "cattle driver" used to describe western Scots who came to Leith for corn. In the reign of Charles I the term was used during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms to refer derisively to a radical faction of the Scottish Covenanters who called themselves the "Kirk Party", it was applied to Scottish Presbyterian rebels who were against the King's Episcopalian order in Scotland. The term "Whig" entered English political discourse during the Exclusion Bill crisis of 1678–1681 when there was controversy about whether or not King Charles II's brother, should be allowed to succeed to the throne on Charles's death. "Whig" was a term of abuse applied to those who wanted to exclude James on the grounds that he was a Roman Catholic. The fervent Tory Samuel Johnson joked that "the first Whig was the Devil".
Under Lord Shaftesbury's leadership, the Whigs in the Parliament of England wished to exclude the Duke of York from the throne due to his Roman Catholicism, his favouring of monarchical absolutism, his connections to France. They believed the heir presumptive, if allowed to inherit the throne, would endanger the Protestant religion and property; the first Exclusion Bill was supported by a substantial majority on its second reading in May 1679. In response, King Charles prorogued Parliament and dissolved it, but the subsequent elections in August and September saw the Whigs' strength increase; this new parliament did not meet for thirteen months, because Charles wanted to give passions a chance to die down. When it met in October 1680, an Exclusion Bill was introduced and passed in the Commons without major resistance, but was rejected in the Lords. Charles dissolved Parliament in January 1681, but the Whigs did not suffer serious losses in the ensuing election; the next Parliament first met in March at Oxford, but Charles dissolved it after only a few days, when he made an appeal to the country against the Whigs and determined to rule without Parliament.
In February, Charles had made a deal with the French King Louis XIV, who promised to support him against the Whigs. Without Parliament, the Whigs crumbled due to government repression following the discovery of the Rye House Plot; the Whig peers, the Earl of Melville, the Earl of Leven, Lord Shaftesbury, Charles II's illegitimate son the Duke of Monmouth, being implicated, fled to and regrouped in the United Provinces. Algernon Sidney, Sir Thomas Armstrong and William Russell, Lord Russell, were executed for treason; the Earl of Essex committed suicide in the Tower of London over his arrest for treason, whilst Lord Grey of Werke escaped from the Tower. After the Glorious Revolution of 1688, Queen Mary II and King William III governed with both Whigs and Tories, despite the fact that many of the Tories still supported the deposed Roman Catholic James II. William saw that the Tories were friendlier to royal authority than the Whigs and he employed both groups in his government, his early ministry was Tory, but the government came to be dominated by the so-called Junto Whig