Flashcards in Chapter 2: Pitt Becoming PM Deck (14):
What political crisis did George III face after the loss of the American colonies?
Lord North resigned, and George was forced to accept a Whig ministry led by Lord Rockingham who he disliked but had majority in Commons. Rockingham died, Lord Shelburne took his place and he was deeply mistrusted due to his close relationship with the King, and the King appointed William Pitt as Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Why has it been suggested that the King appointed Pitt as Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1782?
Because "the system was literally running out of talented material"- William Hague
What happened to Shelburne's ministry?
It was short-lived, Lord North and Charles James Fox joined forces to bring him down.
Why did the King dismiss the Fox-North coalition?
They brought down Shelburne's ministry. The prospect of a coalition between Fox who George detested and his former trusted PM was anathema to him but he was forced to accept it, but the King manoeuvred to destroy the coalition and they were soon dismissed.
What type of person did the King want as PM?
Someone he could trust to restore national confidence. Refused to contemplate Rockingham Whigs and Shelburne Whigs didn't have enough backing. He wanted to avoid political humiliation and exercise his right to choose the PM. He would never trust Lord North again due to his betrayal.
Why did the King want to appoint Pitt?
Despite his age, he had made a strong impression in Parliament as Chancellor. Regarded as honest and conscientious. George would be able to keep the ambitious Fox out of office, and even though he did not particularly like Pitt, he trusted him enough to give him his confidence= he preferred Pitt to any other Whigs.
Why was Pitt faced with opposition upon his appointment?
He had no following from the Commons, no member of the Commons would serve in his Cabinet, which he then made up of members of the Lords leaving him isolated, and so it was impossible to pass any measures through Parliament.
What was the meaning of the term 'Mince Pie Administration'?
Cartoonists nicknamed Pitt's government 'the mince-pie administration', anticipating it would not survive beyond Christmas.
How did Fox lose support after Pitt was appointed PM?
He was furious and suggested this was proof of the King's contempt for Parliament and the electorate. His outspoken condemnation of the King's actions lost Fox vital support.
How was Pitt able to survive as PM?
Partly because of the King's firm support, partly because his personal ambition made him determined to cling on to power until he could gain the necessary majority and partly because Fox gradually upset his own supporters.
When did Pitt ask the King to call an election? What did this show?
March 1784. Parliaments usually ran for 7 years, and it was clear the King was dissolving this one after 3 so that his chosen minister Pitt had a chance to gain a parliamentary majority, and it could be argued the King was pushing the boundaries of his constitutional position. The King 'managed' the election, gaining Pitt as much support as possible.
Was Pitt a Whig or a Tory?
Pitt initially called himself an 'independent Whig', although is often regarded as the first Tory. He did criticise the Whig party as being too narrow, with political power being tightly controlled by a Whig oligarchy serving only their own interests. Oligarchy= government of a small elite group- in this context the Whig families who dominated the political scene in the eighteenth century.
Why was Fox furious at the King regarding Pitt's appointment?
Fox and his friends had the majority in Commons, but the King ignored the attempted convention of inviting them to take office, maintaining his right to choose his ministers.