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Whigs


222 People in sitter grouping:

The history of the Whigs in British politics is long and varied, starting with their emergence as a political faction in 1678. The term itself was first used in British politics during the 1678-1681 Exclusion Bill crises, where a strong party came forward to dispute the crowning of Roman Catholic king, James II. Although often separated into many different group affiliations such as Bedfordites, Rockingham Whigs, and Chathamites, named after their various leaders, the Whigs were united by their representative colours of orange, blue and buff and their key policies. These included a firm opposition to absolute rule, particularly by a Roman Catholic (which they saw as a threat to religious freedom and civil liberties and a threat to protectionist foreign trade laws). As their popularity rose and fell with the changing royal powers, the Whigs evolved to suit the times, using some of their strongest leaders, such as Robert Walpole, to maintain their particular breed of anti-Tory political control. It was, however, one of their most well known off-shoots, the Junto Whigs, whose radical views led to a split, and an eventual merge of the Junto Whigs with the Conservative party in the 1680s. The reign of George I saw Whig supremacy in parliament, as the Tory Jacobites were expelled from parliament. George III's accession saw a joining of disputed factions to form the 'Old' and 'New' Whigs, under Charles Watson-Wentworth, 2nd Marquess of Rockingham and Lord Chatham respectively. Opposition to Prime Minister William Pitt lost the Whigs seats during the 1790s, but they had a lasting impact in the implementation of parliamentary reform acts regarding slavery and the Poor Laws in the 1830s. The Whigs were formally merged into a new coalition liberal party with the Peelites in 1859, and their final dissolution came in 1868.

Sir Hedworth Williamson, 7th Bt

Sir Hedworth Williamson, 7th Bt

1797-1861
Politician; MP for North Durham and Sunderland
Sitter in 1 portrait
Hon. William Windham

Hon. William Windham

1750-1810
Politician; Secretary at War
Sitter associated with 52 portraits

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