Walpole and the Whig Supremacy

By H. T. Dickinson | Go to book overview

Preface

Although he was the most successful British politician of the eighteenth century, there is no modern, single-volume life of Sir Robert Walpole. The best available biographies are William Coxe 's old study, Memoirs of the Life and Administration of Sir Robert Walpole ( 3 vols., 1798) and J. H. Plumb's uncompleted work, Sir Robert Walpole ( 2 vols., 1956, 1960). This short work cannot match the detail of these two studies. Moreover, although it is based on original research, it does not offer any important new evidence or any radically different interpretation. It does, however, attempt a deeper analysis of the major achievements of Walpole's career. It seeks in particular to explain how Walpole did more than any other politician to safeguard the Hanoverian succession, the Revolution Settlement, and the Whig supremacy.

There are no footnotes, but all the important sources are listed in the bibliography. The sources of the few quotations used have usually been identified in the text. Those from Walpole's speeches in the House of Commons are taken from William Cobbett's Parliamentary History of England.

My wife assisted me at every stage in the preparation of this work. Frances Dow read an earlier draft with the greatest care and the final text has benefited a great deal from her shrewd advice.

HARRY DICKINSON Edinburgh University 1972

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Walpole and the Whig Supremacy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Introduction to the Series 5
  • Contents 7
  • Plates 8
  • Preface 9
  • I - Walpole and the Whigs 11
  • 2 - A Whig Apprenticeship (1701-14) 20
  • 3 - The Hanoverian Succession 40
  • 4 - Walpole Consolidates His Power 56
  • 5 - Political Management 66
  • 6 - Financial and Commercial Policies 93
  • 7 - Foreign Policy 113
  • 8 - Walpole and His Critics 140
  • 9 - Walpole in Power (1721-42) 160
  • 10 - The Last Years (1742-5) 188
  • Bibliography 193
  • Index 197
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