The Conservative Party had been in office for almost unbroken 47 years until 1830 and seemed, after the Great Reform Act of 1832, to have adapted to the new political environment. Under the leadership of Sir Robert Peel, they won the 1841 general election. In 1846, however, the issue of the Corn Laws split the party and it entered into its longest period in the political wilderness in modern British history. This article examines why this was, and how it was able to regain credibility as a political party and win the 1874 general election, under the idiosyncratic leadership of Benjamin Disraeli.
AQA 1F Industrialisation and the people: Britain, 1783–1885
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