How effectively did Lord Liverpool deal with the radical challenge 1812-22

Topics: Peterloo Massacre, Radicalism, Habeas corpus in the United States Pages: 2 (696 words) Published: February 7, 2014
Radicalism from 1812-22 was a serious threat to Lord Liverpool’s government. However, due to draconian legislation and fiscal policies Liverpool was able to counter and contain the radical threat that proved to be a constant thorn in the side of a government fresh out of one of the biggest wars Europe had ever seen. The economy in the years directly after the war was weak and on the verge of collapse – there were 400,000 unemployed soldiers returning from Europe and no-one knew what to do with them. There was a lack of trust in banks, as Napoleon’s ‘Continental Plan’ meant that a trade embargo was placed on England. Goods that used to be exported by France could not be bought, and so the British had to turn to other, more expensive, options. The Corn Laws were passed in 1815 and decreed that foreign corn could only be imported if the cost of local corn exceeded 80 shillings (or £4) per quarter ton. After poor harvests in 1811 and 1812 farmers were extremely disgruntled and the government was scared that, if there was to be another poor harvest, the agricultural sector of the radicals would rise up. After the Laws were passed in fact, there were protests and the militia only just stopped radicals entering parliament. In spite of the Corn Laws, 1816 heralded another poor harvest, and this led contemporary economists such as David Ricardo to speak out against the Corn Laws, claiming they were oppressive to the poor and did more harm than good. Furthermore, whereas bread had cost 50 shillings per quarter ton in the 1790s, it now cost 126 shillings per quarter ton. However, even though farmers complained, in 1819 the harvests were good again and continued to be consistently strong year upon year for another 4 years at least. To add to this, the suspension of Habeas Corpus in 1817 meant that radicals could be charged without trial, and this successfully led to the radical voice being silenced. The radicals couldn’t complain because the government would simply arrest...
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