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Entrepreneurial Politics in Mid-Victorian Britain$
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G. R. Searle

Print publication date: 1993

Print ISBN-13: 9780198203575

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198203575.001.0001

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Financial Reform, 1848–1853

Financial Reform, 1848–1853

Chapter:
(p.51) 2 Financial Reform, 1848–1853
Source:
Entrepreneurial Politics in Mid-Victorian Britain
Author(s):

G. R. Searle

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198203575.003.0003

In late 1847, Britain was in the throes of a commercial depression; many banks failed, among them the Royal Bank of Liverpool, which closed its doors in October. In that same month, the government temporarily suspended the Bank Charter Act. This commercial distress reawakened the militancy of the class-conscious urban Radicals, while the agricultural depression stimulated a pronounced Protectionist revival. To appease restless MPs, the Whig government proposed a revised budget, which renewed income tax for three (rather than five) years and left the existing rates unchanged. This triggered a renewal of the bourgeois revolt, and leagues sprang up all over the place. The middle class launched a series of protests, channeling their anger by forming provincial pressure groups. One such group was the Liverpool Financial Reform Association, which criticized the monarchy and the armed services. This chapter looks at the economy campaign of the LFRA and the budget policies of Benjamin Disraeli and William Gladstone in 1852 and 1853, respectively.

Keywords:   Britain, Radicals, budget policy, income tax, Liverpool Financial Reform Association, Protectionist revival, Benjamin Disraeli, William Gladstone, depression, middle class

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