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The Patriot Opposition to WalpolePolitics, Poetry, and National Myth, 1725-1742$
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Christine Gerrard

Print publication date: 1994

Print ISBN-13: 9780198129820

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198129820.001.0001

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Whigs in Opposition

Whigs in Opposition

Chapter:
(p.19) 2 Whigs in Opposition
Source:
The Patriot Opposition to Walpole
Author(s):

Christine Gerrard

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198129820.003.0002

Eighteenth-century patriotism once seemed a relatively straightforward phenomenon. Recent cultural and historical research has rendered it more interesting and (inevitably) infinitely more complicated. The same may be said of the transformations which revisionist historians of the last two decades have made to the landscape of early Hanoverian party politics. In both Parliament and the press, Robert Walpole faced a heterogeneous body of political adversaries, a ‘hybrid’ opposition. The Tories, consigned to near-permanent opposition after the Hanoverian accession in 1714 and the onset of single-party Whig government, formed the largest and most consistent opposition element in the Commons. They were joined by a number of ‘independents’ (though their number is debatable) and by a series of dissident or Patriot Whigs who switched from supporting to opposing the Whig administration. The dissident Whig element became a consistent feature of opposition politics only after Walpole achieved a virtual monopoly on power in Britain in the early 1720s.

Keywords:   Robert Walpole, opposition politics, Whigs, patriotism, Patriot Whigs, Tories, Britain

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