How far do you agree that Pitt’s success as a reformer to 1793 was dependent on Royal support?
Initially Pitt owed much of his success as a reformer to George III. When he took office, Pitt headeda minority government which meant it was difficult for him to push through legislation, consequently meaning his basis for authority stemmed more from the king than from support from Parliament.However, this changed following the 1784 election where Pitt secured the majority needed for effective government, which meant that to an extent, he became less reliant on the king because he now hadgreater support within Parliament.
Pitt introduced successful reforms in areas such as national finances. National Debt was worryingly high in the early 1780s but Pitt’s introduction of the SinkingFund reduced national debt by £10 million. The Sinking Fund concept was largely borrowed from Unitarian minister Dr Richard Price, indicating Pitt owed his success as a reformer in part, to the changingideas of those around him as opposed simply to Royal Support from George III. Pitt’s reform of the taxation system whereby duties were lowered on items such as tea and new levies were placed on‘luxury’ items such as windows, was also highly successful. It simultaneously reduced the profitability of smuggling and increased revenue, helping to restore the national finances. Indeed, by 1792 Pitt hadadded a £1.7 million surplus to national revenue. Similarly, Pitt’s quiet reduction in the number of sinecures and placemen also was a step forward in boosting efficacy and reducing waste ingovernment.
However, the impact of the French Revolution and its ideas regarding mass liberty, constitutional reform and an end to monarchical rule did not originally bode well for Pitt’s government whobenefited from the dual support of George III and Parliament. The Whig’s support for the French Revolution made them more desirable to the increasingly influential middle-classes who would be seeking...
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