Satire is a genre of literature, sometimes graphic and performing arts, in which vices, follies and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, government, or society itself into improvement. Although satire is meant to be humorous, its greater purpose is constructive social criticism, using wit to draw attention to both particular and wider issues in society. A feature of satire is strong irony or sarcasm—"in satire, irony is militant"—but parody, exaggeration, comparison and double entendre are all used in satirical speech and writing; this "militant" irony or sarcasm professes to approve of the things the satirist wishes to attack. Satire is nowadays found in many artistic forms of expression, including internet memes, plays, television shows, media such as lyrics; the word satire comes from the subsequent phrase lanx satura. Satur meant "full" but the juxtaposition with lanx shifted the meaning to "miscellany or medley": the expression lanx satura means "a full dish of various kinds of fruits".
The word satura as used by Quintilian, was used to denote only Roman verse satire, a strict genre that imposed hexameter form, a narrower genre than what would be intended as satire. Quintilian famously said that satura, a satire in hexameter verses, was a literary genre of wholly Roman origin, he was aware of and commented on Greek satire, but at the time did not label it as such, although today the origin of satire is considered to be Aristophanes' Old Comedy. The first critic to use the term "satire" in the modern broader sense was Apuleius. To Quintilian, the satire was a strict literary form, but the term soon escaped from the original narrow definition. Robert Elliott writes: As soon as a noun enters the domain of metaphor, as one modern scholar has pointed out, it clamours for extension; the odd result is. By about the 4th century AD the writer of satires came to be known as satyricus. Subsequent orthographic modifications obscured the Latin origin of the word satire: satura becomes satyra, in England, by the 16th century, it was written'satyre.'
The word satire derives from satura, its origin was not influenced by the Greek mythological figure of the satyr. In the 17th century, philologist Isaac Casaubon was the first to dispute the etymology of satire from satyr, contrary to the belief up to that time. Laughter is not an essential component of satire. Conversely, not all humour on such topics as politics, religion or art is "satirical" when it uses the satirical tools of irony and burlesque. Light-hearted satire has a serious "after-taste": the organizers of the Ig Nobel Prize describe this as "first make people laugh, make them think". Satire and irony in some cases have been regarded as the most effective source to understand a society, the oldest form of social study, they provide the keenest insights into a group's collective psyche, reveal its deepest values and tastes, the society's structures of power. Some authors have regarded satire as superior to non-comic and non-artistic disciplines like history or anthropology. In a prominent example from ancient Greece, philosopher Plato, when asked by a friend for a book to understand Athenian society, referred him to the plays of Aristophanes.
Satire has satisfied the popular need to debunk and ridicule the leading figures in politics, economy and other prominent realms of power. Satire confronts public discourse and the collective imaginary, playing as a public opinion counterweight to power, by challenging leaders and authorities. For instance, it forces administrations to amend or establish their policies. Satire's job is to expose problems and contradictions, it's not obligated to solve them. Karl Kraus set in the history of satire a prominent example of a satirist role as confronting public discourse. For its nature and social role, satire has enjoyed in many societies a special freedom license to mock prominent individuals and institutions; the satiric impulse, its ritualized expressions, carry out the function of resolving social tension. Institutions like the ritual clowns, by giving expression to the antisocial tendencies, represent a safety valve which re-establishes equilibrium and health in the collective imaginary, which are jeopardized by the repressive aspects of society.
The state of political satire in a given society reflects the tolerance or intolerance that characterizes it, the state of civil liberties and human rights. Under totalitarian regimes any criticism of a political system, satire, is suppressed. A typical example is the Soviet Union where the dissidents, such as Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and Andrei Sakharov were under strong pressure from the government. While satire of everyday life in the USSR was allowed, the most prominent satirist being Arkady Raikin, political satire existed in the form of anecdotes that made fun of Soviet political leaders Brezhnev, famous for his narrow-mindedness and love for awards and decorations. Satire is a diverse genre, complex to classif
Delarivier Manley was an English author and political pamphleteer. Manley is sometimes referred to, with Aphra Behn and Eliza Haywood, as one of "the fair triumvirate of wit", a attribution. Much of what is known about Manley is rooted in her insertion of "Delia's story" in the New Atalantis and the Adventures of Rivella that she published as the biography of the author of the Atalantis with Edmund Curll in 1714. Curll added further details on the publication history behind the Rivella in the first posthumous edition of the quasi-fictional and not entirely-reliable autobiography in 1725. Manley was born in Jersey, the third of six children of Sir Roger Manley, a royalist army officer and historian, a woman from the Spanish Netherlands, who died when Delarivier was young, it seems that she and her sister, moved with their father to his various army postings. After their father's death in 1687, the young women became wards of their cousin, John Manley, a Tory MP. John Manley had married a Cornish heiress and bigamously, married Delarivier.
They had a son in 1691 named John. In January 1694 Manley left her husband and went to live with Barbara Villiers, the 1st Duchess of Cleveland, at one time the mistress of Charles II, she remained there only six months, at which time she was expelled by the duchess for flirting with her son. There is some indication that she may have been by reconciled with her husband, for a time. From 1694 to 1696, Manley travelled extensively in England, principally in the southwest, began her dramatic career. At this time she wrote her first play, a comedy, The Lost Lover, or, The Jealous Husband and the she-tragedy, The Royal Mischief, which became the subject of ridicule and inspired the anonymous satirical play, The Female Wits; the satire mocked three female playwrights, including Manley, Catharine Trotter, Mary Pix. Manley retired from the stage for ten years before returning with her 1707 play, Almyna, or, The Arabian Vow. Ten years Manley's Lucius, The First King of Britain, was staged. Manley became well-known notorious, as a novelist with the publication of her roman à clef, the New Atalantis in 1709, a work that spotted present British politics on the fabulous Mediterranean Island.
Contemporary critics like Swift might consider that her caricatures missed the mark much more than they hit it. The affairs of a nation in his head, with a pair of cards or a box of dice in his hand”; such was the scandal the work produced that Manley was arrested, questioned by the authorities in preparation of a libel case against her. She had discredited half the arena of ruling Whig politicians, as well as moderate Tories like John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, she said, had begun his career at court in the bed of the royal mistress, Barbara Villiers. Manley resolutely denied all correspondencies between her characters and real people, the charges were dropped: part of the difficulty of those offended was proving that she had told their stories, without exposing themselves to further ridicule. Manley's semi-autobiographical Adventures of Rivella repeated the claim that her work was fictional; the result was a tacit agreement as to the fictional status of her works, under cover of which she continued to publish another volume of the Atalantis and two more of the Memoirs of Europe.
The latter found a different fictional setting to allow the wider European picture. Editions sold the Memoirs, however, as volumes three and four of the Atalantis, which came to incorporate the earlier skit, the Secret History of Queen Zarah. Meanwhile, with the Tory electoral victory of 1710, Manley came to collaborate with Swift in a number of pro-Tory pamphlets, took over the editorship of The Examiner from him, her satirical attacks on the Whigs resulted in a payment from the new Prime Minister Robert Harley, 1st Earl of Oxford and Mortimer. Nothing saved from the wreck”. Manley, was a resilient figure. In 1714, she had been threatened with being the object of a biographical text planned by Charles Gildon, but Curll, Gildon's prospective publisher warned Manley of the work in progress, she contacted Gildon and arranged for an agreement: she would write the work in question herself within a certain time span. The result were her Adventures of Rivella, a book evolving between two male protagonists: the young chevalier D'Aumont has left France to have sex with the author and finds a rejected lover and friend who does not only offer his assistance in arranging the contact but tells the story of her life, both as related in public gossip and as only her friends know it.
In this work, Manley has been seen as repositioning herself politically as a more moderate figure, in preparation for the power shifts to come. Her last major work, The Power of Love in Seven Novels (Lond
Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough
Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough rose to be one of the most influential women of her time through her close friendship with Anne, Queen of Great Britain. Sarah's friendship and influence with Princess Anne were known, leading public figures turned their attentions to her in the hope that she would influence Anne to comply with requests; as a result, by the time Anne became Queen, Sarah’s knowledge of government, intimacy with the queen, had made her a powerful friend and a dangerous enemy. Sarah enjoyed a "long and devoted" relationship with her husband of more than 40 years, John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, she acted as Anne's agent after James II, was deposed during the Glorious Revolution. When Anne came to the throne after William's death in 1702, the Duke of Marlborough, together with Sidney Godolphin, the first Earl of Godolphin, rose to head the government owing to his wife's friendship with the queen. While the Duke was out of the country commanding troops in the War of the Spanish Succession, Sarah kept him informed of court intrigue, while he sent her requests and political advice, which she would convey to the queen.
Sarah tirelessly campaigned on behalf of the Whigs, while devoting much of her time to building projects such as Blenheim Palace. Sarah, a strong-willed woman, strained her relationship with the Queen whenever she disagreed with the Queen on political, court, or church appointments. After her final break with Anne in 1711, Sarah and her husband were dismissed from the court, but she had her revenge under the Hanoverians following Anne's death, she had famous subsequent disagreements with many important people, including her daughter the second Duchess of Marlborough. The money she inherited from the Marlborough trust left her one of the richest women in Europe, she died in 1744, aged 84. Sarah Jennings was born on 5 June 1660 at Holywell House, St Albans, Hertfordshire, she was the daughter of Richard Jennings, a Member of Parliament, Frances Thornhurst. Her uncle was a prominent naturalist. Richard Jennings came into contact with James, Duke of York, in 1663, during negotiations for the recovery of an estate in Kent, the property of his mother-in-law, Susan Lister.
James's first impressions were favourable, in 1664 Sarah’s sister, was appointed maid of honour to the Duchess of York, Anne Hyde. Although James forced Frances to give up the post because of her marriage to a Catholic, James did not forget the family. In 1673, Sarah entered court as maid of honour to Mary of Modena. Sarah became close to the young Princess Anne in about 1675, the friendship grew stronger as the two grew older. In late 1675, when she was still only fifteen, she met John Churchill, 10 years her senior, who fell in love with her. Churchill, a lover of Charles II’s mistress, Barbara Palmer, Duchess of Cleveland, had little to offer financially, as his estates were in debt. Sarah had a rival for Churchill in Catherine Sedley, a wealthy mistress of James II and the choice of Churchill's father, Sir Winston Churchill, anxious to restore the family's fortune. John may have hoped to take Sarah as a mistress in place of the Duchess of Cleveland, who had departed for France, but surviving letters from Sarah to John show her unwillingness to assume that role.
In 1677, Sarah's brother Ralph died, she and her sister, became co-heirs of the Jennings estates in Hertfordshire and Kent. John chose Sarah over Catherine Sedley, but both John's and Sarah's families disapproved of the match, therefore they married secretly in the winter of 1677–78. John and Sarah were both Protestants in a predominantly Catholic court, a circumstance that would influence their political allegiances. Although no date was recorded, the marriage was announced only to the Duchess of York, a small circle of friends, so that Sarah could keep her court position as Maid of Honour; when Sarah became pregnant, her marriage was announced publicly, she retired from the court to give birth to her first child, who died in infancy. When the Duke of York went into self-imposed exile to Scotland as a result of the furore surrounding the Popish Plot and Sarah accompanied him, Charles II rewarded John's loyalty by creating him Baron Churchill of Eyemouth in Scotland, Sarah thus becoming Lady Churchill.
The Duke of York returned to England after the religious tension had eased, Sarah was appointed a Lady of the Bedchamber to Anne after the latter's marriage in 1683. The early reign of James II was successful. In addition, his daughter and heir was a Protestant. However, when James attempted to reform the national religion, popular discontent against him and his government became widespread; the level of alarm increased when Queen Mary gave birth to a Roman Catholic son and heir, Prince James Francis Edward, on 10 June 1688. A group of politicians known as the Immortal Seven invited Prince William of Orange, husband of James's Protestant daughter Mary, to invade England and remove James from power, though the plan became public knowledge quickly
Jonathan Swift was an Anglo-Irish satirist, political pamphleteer and cleric who became Dean of St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin. Swift is remembered for works such as A Tale of a Tub, An Argument Against Abolishing Christianity, Gulliver's Travels, A Modest Proposal, he is regarded by the Encyclopædia Britannica as the foremost prose satirist in the English language, is less well known for his poetry. He published all of his works under pseudonyms – such as Lemuel Gulliver, Isaac Bickerstaff, M. B. Drapier – or anonymously, he was a master of two styles of the Horatian and Juvenalian styles. His deadpan, ironic writing style in A Modest Proposal, has led to such satire being subsequently termed "Swiftian". Jonathan Swift was born on 30 November 1667 in Ireland, he was the second child and only son of Jonathan Swift and his wife Abigail Erick of Frisby on the Wreake. His father was a native of Goodrich, but he accompanied his brothers to Ireland to seek their fortunes in law after their Royalist father's estate was brought to ruin during the English Civil War.
His maternal grandfather, James Ericke, was the vicar of England. In 1634 the vicar was convicted of Puritan practices; some time thereafter and his family, including his young daughter Abilgail, fled to Ireland. Swift's father joined Godwin, in the practice of law in Ireland, he died in Dublin. He died of syphilis. At the age of one, child Jonathan was taken by his wet nurse to her hometown of Whitehaven, England, he said. His nurse returned him still in Ireland, when he was three, his mother returned to England after his birth, leaving him in the care of his Uncle Godwin, a close friend and confidant of Sir John Temple whose son employed Swift as his secretary. Swift's family had several interesting literary connections, his grandmother Elizabeth Swift was the niece of Sir Erasmus Dryden, grandfather of poet John Dryden. The same grandmother's aunt Katherine Dryden was a first cousin of Elizabeth, wife of Sir Walter Raleigh, his great-great grandmother Margaret Swift was the sister of Francis Godwin, author of The Man in the Moone which influenced parts of Swift's Gulliver's Travels.
His uncle Thomas Swift married a daughter of poet and playwright Sir William Davenant, a godson of William Shakespeare. Swift's benefactor and uncle Godwin Swift took primary responsibility for the young man, sending him with one of his cousins to Kilkenny College, he arrived there at the age of six, where he was expected to have learned the basic declensions in Latin. He had so started at a lower form. Swift graduated in 1682, when he was 15, he attended Dublin University in 1682, financed by Godwin's son Willoughby. The four-year course followed a curriculum set in the Middle Ages for the priesthood; the lectures were dominated by Aristotelian philosophy. The basic skill taught the students was debate and they were expected to be able to argue both sides of any argument or topic. Swift was an above-average student but not exceptional, received his B. A. in 1686 "by special grace."Swift was studying for his master's degree when political troubles in Ireland surrounding the Glorious Revolution forced him to leave for England in 1688, where his mother helped him get a position as secretary and personal assistant of Sir William Temple at Moor Park, Farnham.
Temple was an English diplomat who arranged the Triple Alliance of 1668. He had retired from public service to his country estate to write his memoirs. Gaining his employer's confidence, Swift "was trusted with matters of great importance". Within three years of their acquaintance, Temple had introduced his secretary to William III and sent him to London to urge the King to consent to a bill for triennial Parliaments. Swift took up his residence at Moor Park where he met Esther Johnson eight years old, the daughter of an impoverished widow who acted as companion to Temple's sister Lady Giffard. Swift was her tutor and mentor, giving her the nickname "Stella", the two maintained a close but ambiguous relationship for the rest of Esther's life. In 1690, Swift left Temple for Ireland because of his health but returned to Moor Park the following year; the illness consisted of fits of vertigo or giddiness, now known to be Ménière's disease, it continued to plague him throughout his life. During this second stay with Temple, Swift received his M.
A. from Hart Hall, Oxford, in 1692. He left Moor Park despairing of gaining a better position through Temple's patronage, to become an ordained priest in the Established Church of Ireland, he was appointed to the prebend of Kilroot in the Diocese of Connor in 1694, with his parish located at Kilroot, near Carrickfergus in County Antrim. Swift appears to have been miserable in his new position, being isolated in a small, remote community far from the centres of power and influence. While at Kilroot, however, he may well have become romantically involved with Jane Waring, whom he called "Varina", the sister of an old college friend. A letter from him survives, offering to remain if she would marry him and promising to leave and never return to Ireland if she refused, she refused, because Swift left his post and returned to England and Temple's service at Moor Park in 1696, he remained there until Temple's death. There he was employ
Tories (British political party)
The Tories were members of two political parties which existed sequentially in the Kingdom of England, the Kingdom of Great Britain and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from the 17th to the early 19th centuries. The first Tories emerged in 1678 in England, when they opposed the Whig-supported Exclusion Bill which set out to disinherit the heir presumptive James, Duke of York, who became James II of England and VII of Scotland; this party ceased to exist as an organised political entity in the early 1760s, although it was used as a term of self-description by some political writers. A few decades a new Tory party would rise to establish a hold on government between 1783 and 1830, with William Pitt the Younger followed by Robert Jenkinson, 2nd Earl of Liverpool; the Earl of Liverpool was succeeded by fellow Tory Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, whose term included the Catholic Emancipation, which occurred due to the election of Daniel O'Connell as a Catholic MP from Ireland.
When the Whigs subsequently regained control, the Representation of the People Act 1832 removed the rotten boroughs, many of which were controlled by Tories. In the following general election, the Tory ranks were reduced to 180 MPs. Under the leadership of Robert Peel, the Tamworth Manifesto was issued, which began to transform the Tories into the Conservative Party. However, Peel lost many of his supporters by repealing the Corn Laws, causing the party to break apart. One faction, led by Edward Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby and Benjamin Disraeli, survived to become the modern Conservative Party, whose members are still referred to as Tories as they still follow and promote the ideology of Toryism; the first Tory party could trace its principles and politics, though not its organization, to the English Civil War which divided England between the Royalist supporters of King Charles I and the supporters of the Long Parliament upon which the King had declared war. This action resulted from this parliament not allowing him to levy taxes without yielding to its terms.
In the beginning of the Long Parliament, the King's supporters were few, the Parliament pursued a course of reform of previous abuses. The increasing radicalism of the Parliamentary majority, estranged many reformers in the Parliament itself and drove them to make common cause with the King; the King's party thus comprised a mixture of supporters of royal autocracy and of those Parliamentarians who felt that the Long Parliament had gone too far in attempting to gain executive power for itself and, more in undermining the episcopalian government of the Church of England, felt to be a primary support of royal government. By the end of the 1640s, the radical Parliamentary programme had become clear: reduction of the King to a powerless figurehead and replacement of Anglican episcopacy with a form of Presbyterianism; this prospective form of settlement was prevented by a coup d'état which shifted power from Parliament itself to the Parliamentary New Model Army, controlled by Oliver Cromwell. The Army had King Charles I executed and for the next eleven years the British kingdoms operated under military dictatorship.
The Restoration of King Charles II produced a reaction in which the King regained a large part of the power held by his father. No subsequent British monarch would attempt to rule without Parliament, after the Glorious Revolution of 1688, political disputes would be resolved through elections and parliamentary manoeuvring, rather than by an appeal to force. Charles II restored episcopacy in the Church of England, his first "Cavalier Parliament" began as a royalist body, passed a series of acts re-establishing the Church by law and punishing dissent by both Roman Catholics and non-Anglican Protestants. These acts did not reflect the King's personal views and demonstrated the existence of a Royalist ideology beyond mere subservience to the Court. A series of disasters in the late 1660s and 1670s discredited Charles II's governments, powerful political interests began to agitate for a greater role of Parliament in government, coupled with more tolerance for Protestant dissenters; these interests would soon coalesce as the Whigs.
As direct attacks on the King were politically impossible and could lead to execution for treason, opponents of the power of the Court framed their challenges as exposés of subversive and sinister Catholic plots. Although the matter of these plots was fictitious, they reflected two uncomfortable political realities: first, that Charles II had undertaken measures to convert the kingdom to Catholicism; as a political term, "Tory" entered English politics during the Exclusion Bill crisis of 1678–1681. The Whigs, were those who supported the exclusion of James, the Duke of York from the succession to thrones of Scotland and England and Ireland and the Tories were those who opposed the Exclusion Bill; the Whigs tried to link the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, the Duke of Ormonde, with the foremost Irish Tory, Redmond O'Hanlon
Sir Richard Steele was an Irish writer and politician, remembered as co-founder, with his friend Joseph Addison, of the magazine The Tatler. Steele was born in Dublin, Ireland in March 1672 to Richard Steele, an attorney, Elinor Symes. Steele was raised by his uncle and aunt, Henry Gascoigne and Lady Katherine Mildmay. A member of the Protestant gentry, he was educated at Charterhouse School, where he first met Addison. After starting at Christ Church, Oxford, he went on to Merton College, Oxford joined the Life Guards of the Household Cavalry in order to support King William's wars against France, he was commissioned in 1697, rose to the rank of captain within two years. Steele left the army in 1705 due to the death of the 34th Foot's commanding officer, Lord Lucas, which limited his opportunities of promotion. In 1706 Steele was appointed to a position in the household of Prince George of Denmark, consort of Anne, Queen of Great Britain, he gained the favour of Robert Harley, Earl of Oxford.
Steele became a Whig Member of Parliament in 1713, for Stockbridge. He was soon expelled for issuing a pamphlet in favor of the Hanoverian succession; when George I of Great Britain came to the throne in the following year, Steele was knighted and given responsibility for the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London. He returned to parliament in 1715, for Boroughbridge. While at Drury Lane, Steele wrote and directed the sentimental comedy The Conscious Lovers, an immediate hit. However, he fell out with Addison and with the administration over the Peerage Bill, in 1724 he retired to his second wife's homeland of Wales, where he spent the remainder of his life. Steele was a member of the Kit-Kat Club. Both Steele and Addison became associated with Child's Coffee-house in St Paul's Churchyard. Steele remained in Carmarthen after his wife Mary's death, was buried there, at St Peter's Church. During restoration of the church in 2000, his skull was discovered in a lead casket, having been accidentally disinterred during the 1870s.
Steele's first published work, The Christian Hero, attempted to point out the differences between perceived and actual masculinity. Written while Steele served in the army, it expressed his idea of a pamphlet of moral instruction; the Christian Hero was ridiculed for what some thought was hypocrisy because Steele did not follow his own preaching. He was criticized for publishing a booklet about morals when he himself enjoyed drinking, occasional dueling, debauchery around town. Steele wrote a comedy that same year titled The Funeral; this play met with wide success and was performed at Drury Lane, bringing him to the attention of the King and the Whig party. Next, Steele wrote The Lying Lover, one of the first sentimental comedies, but a failure on stage. In 1705, Steele wrote The Tender Husband with contributions from Addison's, that year wrote the prologue to The Mistake, by John Vanbrugh an important member of the Whig Kit-Kat Club with Addison and Steele; the Tatler, Steele's first journal, first came out on 12 April 1709, appeared three times a week: on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
Steele wrote this periodical under the pseudonym Isaac Bickerstaff and gave Bickerstaff an entire developed personality. Steele described his motive in writing The Tatler as "to expose the false arts of life, to pull off the disguises of cunning and affectation, to recommend a general simplicity in our dress, our discourse, our behavior". Steele founded the magazine, although he and Addison collaborated, Steele wrote the majority of the essays. While Addison contributed to The Tatler, it is regarded as Steele's work; the Tatler was closed down to avoid the complications of running a Whig publication that had come under Tory attack. Addison and Steele founded The Spectator in 1711 and the Guardian in 1713. In 1705, Steele married a widow, Margaret Stretch, who died in the following year. At her funeral he met his second wife, Mary Scurlock, whom he nicknamed "Prue" and married in 1707. In the course of their courtship and marriage, he wrote over 400 letters to her. Mary died in 1718, at a time when she was considering separation.
Their daughter, married John Trevor, 3rd Baron Trevor. Steele had an illegitimate child, Elizabeth Ousley, whom he adopted. Steele plays a minor role in the novel The History of Henry Esmond by William Makepeace Thackeray, it is during his time with the Life Guards, where he is referred to as Dick the Scholar and makes mention of his friend "Joe Addison". Thackeray depicts Steele in glowing terms as a warm, talented mentor who befriends the title character in his youth and remains loyal to him for years despite their political differences. List of abolitionist forerunners Works by Richard Steele at Project Gutenberg Works by or about Richard Steele at Internet Archive Essays by Steele at Quotidiana.org Dobson, Austin. Richard Steele. New York: D. Appleton & Co
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