The Significance of William Pitt in Reforming the British Parliamentary System

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The Significance of William Pitt in Reforming the British Parliamentary System Successive Kings of England, George I (1714-1727) and George II (1727-60), both proved highly disinterested in the political aspects of their country. As a result of this disinterest, each in turn had to leave national ruling to the Government. Subsequently, in 1716 the Septennial Act was passed, which extended the life of parliament from 3 to 7 years. This provided for an unprecedented period of parliament stability, and ultimately limited the powers of the king.’ (Barnett, 2002 p654). Political power had now shifted from the king to his chosen first minister. Parliament at this time could not be described as democratic. A small, cohesive group of elites, known as the Whigs ran it. They instigated a period of political stability. A recognisable feature of the Government developed during the reign of King George II. This was the cabinet. This meant… “Ministers would meet in cabinet, without the King” (Barnett, 2002 p565). King George III would from then on only liaise with the advisors of his council. All acts of parliament continued to have to meet with royal approval. 1760 - George III came to the throne, he was proud of his country and indeed “regarded himself as an Englishman” (Barnett, 2002 p566). George III spoke the English language, and had a genuine interest in how the country was to run, unlike his Hanoverian predecessors. Parliamentary reform was high on the agenda at this time, but general political awareness was low. The majority of the population were unaware of the discrepancies within the Government systems. The Ministers in the Hou... ... middle of paper ... ...uld any King or Queen or heir to the throne marry a Catholic” (Barnett, 2002 p560). Although it is evident that Pitt brought about major revolution, it must be acknowledged politics are never static, and Government is constantly evolving. However, the impact of Pitt’s reforms had long and far reaching consequences. Bibliography Brown. G (2005) William Pitt the younger (1759-1806). (online). Available at: C/H. Biography of William Pitt the younger. (2005) Encarta. Encyclopaedia. (2005). Pitt The Younger. (online). Available at: Spartacus (2005) William Pitt . (online). Available at:
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