The radical experiment in Liverpool and its influence on the reform movement in the early Victorian period

Foggo, Anthony
The radical experiment in Liverpool and its influence on the reform movement in the early Victorian period. PhD thesis, University of Liverpool.

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This thesis investigates the development of radical politics in Liverpool in the first half of the nineteenth century and argues that distinctive events and trends in Liverpool exercised an important influence on the activities of the Reform Movement nationally between 1848 and 1854. It addresses two important but largely neglected areas of historiography: first, the political history of Liverpool in the years between the abolition of the slave trade and the mass influx of Irish refugees in mid-century, during which time the town rose to commercial pre-eminence; secondly, the influence of major provincial centres such as Liverpool on politics at the national level. The origins of Liverpool’s reformist Town Council of 1835-1841 are traced and show a continuity of thought and personalities over several decades against a backdrop of Tory paternalism and institutionalised corruption. The new reformist administration is seen as laying the foundations of a modern society through good governance, financial economy, civil liberty and innovation. On the Corn Laws issue, Liverpool’s reformers were reluctant to follow Manchester’s lead, preferring to pursue free trade on a broad front. This study follows their progress and shows how, ultimately, their thinking on financial reform influenced Cobden’s “National Budget” and remained an ever-present stimulus for several decades. The most prominent of Liverpool’s radical reformers was Sir Joshua Walmsley, whose achievements in both municipal and national politics have received much less attention from historians than they have merited. This study details the influences and experiences in his early career and then traces how, through political dexterity, he pushed parliamentary reform to the forefront of the national political agenda and established the National Parliamentary and Financial Reform Association in 1849. The influence exerted by his Liverpool background on both his political development and style of campaigning may be seen throughout his parliamentary career.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: Date: 2015-04 (completed)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Liverpool, Radicalism, Walmsley, Cobden, Parliamentary Reform, Corn Laws, Education, Police, Social Reform
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Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 08 Sep 2015 14:21
Last Modified: 17 Dec 2022 00:48
DOI: 10.17638/02012339