Walpole and the Whig Supremacy

By H. T. Dickinson | Go to book overview

3 The Hanoverian Succession

Although the accession of George I marks the beginning of the long years of Whig supremacy and, in a sense, of one-party government in Britain, this development was by no means inevitable, and its full significance was not appreciated by the politicians of either party for some years. The Tories did not simply disappear from the political scene when Queen Anne died, nor did the Whigs maintain their discipline and unity of purpose after they had achieved their primary aim, the Hanoverian succession. Moreover, George I, with his own political views and with the advice of his German ministers, had no desire to alienate all the Tories or to become the prisoner of the Whigs. The political scene after the Hanoverian succession was almost as complicated as in the years immediately following the Revolution Settlement, though this time the Whigs adjusted to the new circumstances more quickly and exploited their advantages more successfully. Robert Walpole was rewarded with office soon after George I's accession, but he did not achieve political supremacy until he too had learned to adjust to a new era in British politics.

The death of Queen Anne destroyed the Tory Government, but it did not lead to the immediate extinction of the Tory party. The new King was reluctant to proscribe loyal Hanoverian Tories, such as Nottingham, and the Tories, despite their defeat in the general election of 1715, won more seats than the Whigs had done in 1713. If they had been united, disciplined, and well led, they might have staged a political recovery after a few years in opposition. The party, however, began to disintegrate, and within a relatively short time it had become clear that it would never again hold power. Some of its principles

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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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