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Charles James Fox$
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L. G. Mitchell

Print publication date: 1992

Print ISBN-13: 9780198201045

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198201045.001.0001

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The Making of a Whig, 1774–1782

The Making of a Whig, 1774–1782

Chapter:
(p.25) 2 The Making of a Whig, 1774–1782
Source:
Charles James Fox
Author(s):

L. G. Mitchell

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198201045.003.0002

Between 1774 and 1782, Fox, on some interpretations, finally managed to slough off the prejudices of his family to emerge as a Rockingham Whig. If so, the transformation was astonishing. The descendant of Charles II had allegedly become a leading figure in the Whig party, whose central point of faith was a distrust of kings. The process began with Fox's resentment over his treatment by North and George III between 1770 and 1774. The intellectual influence of Burke capitalized on the young man's sense of grievance to convince him of Whiggery's value. Above all, the American War of Independence finally divorced Fox from his former associates. This, cumulatively, constitutes a strong case, and one which contains many points of interest and some truth. It is not, however, the whole truth. In 1782, Fox was not a Whig in the sense that he had foreclosed on all other options. Although he now had more Whig friends, he also differed from those new friends on many issues. The lack of firm principle, which had marked his early years, still gave him total flexibility.

Keywords:   Charles James Fox, Whigs, English politicians, 18th-century politics

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