Chapter 1: Britain 1783 Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Chapter 1: Britain 1783 Deck (25):

What was Britain's system of government?

Based on a constitutional monarchy, meaning that political power was shared between the King (George III), the House of Lords and House of Commons


What was Patronage?

Patronage was the right to give privileges or make appointments. The King had the power of patronage, giving him political influence. Loyalty was expected in return. If he did not have this power, Briggs asserts he would have lost control of government. Well paid positions, annual pensions and honours.


What was the Bill of Rights?

Restricted the power of the monarchy.


What was the situation regarding the Minister and the monarchy?

Ministers are 'agents of the King', but still needed to pay attention to Parliament. Needed to gain Parliament's support to carry out the King's wishes.


What was the role of Parliament?

Made laws, took decisions on taxation and spending, and debated issues of national and local importance.


What was the role of the Monarch?

Influenced general policy and had the power of veto, retained the right to choose and dismiss ministers and could summon and dissolve Parliament.


How was the Monarch dependent on Parliament?

Financially. Parliament granted funds to the monarch on an annual basis, through the civil list (a fixed yearly sum, agreed by Parliament to meet the monarch's household expenses).


What was the Monarch's power of veto?

Could veto legislation (reject a decision or proposal) but was unlikely to do so if it jeopardised his income.


How was political power shared by 1783?

Although the Bill of Rights 1689 emphasised the supremacy of Parliament, political power was shared between the King and Parliament.


What was Parliament made up of?

The House of Lords and the House of Commons.


What was the House of Lords?

Made up of unelected hereditary peers and the Monarch could create new peers through Patronage. The Lords were able to block any measures requested by the Commons.


What was the House of Commons?

An elected assembly, not democratic as few men had the right to vote. Men in Commons mainly belonged to the gentry (high class).


What did mps regard a seat in the Commons as?

An opportunity or advantage and advancement, some valued it as independence. They represented County seats and interests of landowners and gentry.


What did the Commons control?

Taxation. It's main duty was to act as a check on the executive (ministers).


Why was it hard to achieve a stable majoritty in the Commons?

There were many different factions.


What happened in the late eighteenth century?

Growth of parties which strengthened Commons and influence increased. PM needed support of majority of Commons to carry on in government.


What were the Privy Council?

A group of advisers who acted as a bridge betwen the King and Parliament on policy decisions. They were appointed for life and soon grew too big resulting in the growth of the Cabinet.


What was the Cabinet?

A smaller, more manageable group of Ministers, advising the King. Within the Cabinet was the First Lord of the Treasury (PM), chosen by the monarch, was the chief representative of Parliament. Monarch could choose either a Whig or a Tory, whichever had the majority in Commons.


How did the PM cement essential Parliamentary support?

Public patronage- handing out honours, positions and pensions.


What happened in 1782?

Loss of American colonies resulted in George's position being weakened. Lord North (PM) resigned, Rockingham replaced him.


When did Pitt become PM?

1784. His success resulted in PM position being a greater importance as he relied more on support of Commons than Monarch (as George already supported him and probably interfered to get him PM).


What was the civil list?

Funds granted from Parliament to the monarch on an annual basis. The Monarch was financially dependent upon Parliament.


How could the Lords maintain influence over the Commons?

The Lords could block measures passed by the Commons. Although the Commons still had influence as they controlled taxation, and its main duty was to act as an executive on the PM, as the PM had to have the support of the majority of the Commons to carry on in Government.


Why did the Monarch tend to choose their PM from the Whigs or the Tories?

It was vital that the PM enjoyed the confidence of the House of Commons in order to carry through the business of government. The Monarch, therefore, tended to choose a prominent member from one of the two main political parties- Whigs or Tories, whichever had the majority in Commons.


Who monopolised political reform for most of the eighteenth century?

The Whigs, whilst the Tories continued to suffer from association with their failed attempts to restore the Stuart monarchy.