Walpole and the Whig Supremacy

By H. T. Dickinson | Go to book overview

6 Financial and Commercial Policies

Walpole's careful calculation of the political consequences of his actions can be clearly seen in his financial and commercial policies. To remain in power he had to convince the King that he could persuade Parliament to vote the revenue needed by the Court and the Government. To persuade Parliament to vote the necessary supplies, he had to convince a majority of Members that he was competent to manage the nation's finances and capable of promoting the country's economic welfare. Walpole, however, was not just interested in power for its own sake. He had wider political aims -- to unite the nation behind the Hanoverian Settlement and the Whig supremacy. He had personal experience of the bitterness and divisions which could be created by an unstable financial structure, heavy taxation, and the dislocation of economic life. These financial and economic strains, which had been so apparent in Anne's reign and during the crisis of the South Sea Bubble, had aggravated the political rivalry between Whigs and Tories, had intensified the social conflict between the landed and the moneyed interests, and had encouraged the enemies of the Hanoverian succession. Walpole hoped to reverse these unfortunate political developments and promote domestic harmony by his financial and commercial policies. His financial policies were designed to enable him to raise the revenue needed by the Government, to persuade the landed interest to consent to the necessary taxation, and to borrow the ready cash from the financial interest. His commercial and economic policies were designed to promote the prosperity of the country as a whole and to stabilize the nation's finances so that the landed, moneyed, and merchant interests, or at

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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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