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The Parliament of Great Britain was formed in May 1707 following the ratification of the
Acts of UnionAct of Union may refer to: In Great Britain and Ireland * Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542, passed during the reign of King Henry VIII to make Wales a part of the Kingdom of England (These laws are often referred to in the plural as the "Acts of Un ...
by both the
Parliament of England The Parliament of England was the legislature of the Kingdom of England from the mid 13th to 17th century. The first English Parliament was convened in 1215, with the creation and signing of the Magna Carta, which established the rights of ba ...
and the
Parliament of Scotland The Parliament of Scotland ( sco, Pairlament o Scotland; gd, Pàrlamaid na h-Alba) was the legislature A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a ...
. The Acts ratified the treaty of Union which created a new unified
Kingdom of Great Britain The Kingdom of Great Britain, officially called Great Britain,"After the political union of England and Scotland in 1707, the nation's official name became 'Great Britain'", ''The American Pageant, Volume 1'', Cengage Learning (2012) was a s ...

Kingdom of Great Britain
and created the parliament of Great Britain located in the former home of the English parliament in the
Palace of Westminster The Palace of Westminster serves as the meeting place for both the House of Commons The House of Commons is the name for the elected lower house A lower house is one of two chambers Chambers may refer to: Places Canada: *Chambers Towns ...

Palace of Westminster
, near the
City of London The City of London is a City status in the United Kingdom, city, Ceremonial counties of England, ceremonial county and local government district that contains the historic centre and the primary central business district (CBD) of London. It c ...

City of London
. This lasted nearly a century, until the
Acts of Union 1800 The Acts of Union 1800 (sometimes referred to as a single Act of Union 1801) were parallel acts of the Parliament of Great Britain The Parliament of Great Britain was formed in May 1707 following the ratification of the Acts of Union by ...
merged the separate British and Irish Parliaments into a single
Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the of the , the and the . It alone possesses and thereby ultimate power over all other political bodies in the UK and the overseas territories. Parliament is but has three parts, consisting of the ...
with effect from 1 January 1801.


History

Following the
Treaty of Union A treaty is a formal, legally binding written agreement between actors in international law. It is usually entered into by sovereign states and international organizations, but can sometimes include individuals, business entities, and other L ...

Treaty of Union
in 1706,
Acts of UnionAct of Union may refer to: In Great Britain and Ireland * Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542, passed during the reign of King Henry VIII to make Wales a part of the Kingdom of England (These laws are often referred to in the plural as the "Acts of Un ...
ratifying the Treaty were passed in both the Parliament of England and the Parliament of Scotland, which created a new Kingdom of Great Britain. The Acts paved the way for the enactment of the treaty of Union which created a new parliament, referred to as the 'Parliament of Great Britain', based in the home of the former English parliament. All of the traditions, procedures, and standing orders of the English parliament were retained, although there is no provision for this within the treaty, and to this day this is a contentious issue, as were the incumbent officers, and members representing England comprised the overwhelming majority of the new body. It was not even considered necessary to hold a new general election. While
Scots law Scots law () is the legal system The contemporary national legal systems are generally based on one of four basic systems: civil law (legal system), civil law, common law, statutory law, religious law or combinations of these. However, the le ...
and Scottish legislation remained separate, new legislation was thereafter to be enacted by the new parliament, with the exception of that pertaining to private right which could only legislated on for the “evident utility” of the people. After the Hanoverian King George I ascended the British throne in 1714 through the Act of Settlement of 1701, real power continued to shift away from the monarchy. George was a
German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language The German la ...
ruler, spoke poor English, and remained interested in governing his dominions in continental Europe rather than in Britain. He thus entrusted power to a group of his ministers, the foremost of whom was
Sir Robert Walpole Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford, (26 August 1676 – 18 March 1745; known between 1725 and 1742 as Sir Robert Walpole) was a British British may refer to: Peoples, culture, and language * British people The British people, or Brit ...

Sir Robert Walpole
, and by the end of his reign in 1727 the position of the ministers – who had to rely on Parliament for support – was cemented. George I's successor, his son
George IIGeorge II or 2 may refer to: People * George II of Antioch (seventh century AD) * George II of Armenia (late ninth century) * George II of Abkhazia (916–960) * Patriarch George II of Alexandria (1021–1051) * George II of Georgia (1072–1089) * ...
, continued to follow through with his father's domestic policies and made little effort to re-establish monarchical control over the government which was now in firm control by Parliament. By the end of the 18th century the monarch still had considerable influence over Parliament, which was dominated by the English aristocracy, by means of
patronage Patronage is the support, encouragement, privilege, or financial aid that an organization or individual bestows on another. In the history of art, arts patronage refers to the support that kings, popes, and the wealthy have provided to artists suc ...

patronage
, but had ceased to exert direct power: for instance, the last occasion on which the Royal Assent was withheld was in 1708 by
Queen Anne Queen Anne often refers to: * Anne, Queen of Great Britain (1665–1714), queen of England, Scotland and Ireland (1702–1707) and of Great Britain (1707–1714) **Queen Anne style architecture, an architectural style from her reign, and its revival ...

Queen Anne
. At
general election A general election is a political voting election where generally all or most members of a given political body are chosen. These are usually held for a nation, state, or territory's primary legislative body, and are different from by-election ...
s the vote was restricted to freeholders and landowners, in constituencies that had changed little since the
Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...
, so that in many "rotten" and "pocket" boroughs seats could be bought, while major cities remained unrepresented, except by the
Knights of the Shire A knight is a person granted an honorary title of knighthood by a head of state (including the pope) or representative for service to the monarch, the christian denomination, church or the country, especially in a military capacity. Knighthoo ...
representing whole counties. Reformers and Radicals sought parliamentary reform, but as the
French Revolutionary Wars The French Revolutionary Wars (french: Guerres de la Révolution française) were a series of sweeping military conflicts lasting from 1792 until 1802 and resulting from the French Revolution. They pitted French First Republic, France against Gr ...
developed the British government became repressive against dissent and progress towards reform was stalled. George II's successor,
George III George III (George William Frederick; 4 June 173829 January 1820) was King of Great Britain There have been 12 British monarchs since the political union of the Kingdom of England The Kingdom of England was a sovereign state on th ...

George III
, sought to restore royal supremacy and absolute monarchy, but by the end of his reign the position of the king's ministers – who discovered that they needed the support of Parliament to enact any major changes – had become central to the role of British governance, and would remain so ever after. During the first half of George III's reign, the monarch still had considerable influence over Parliament, which itself was dominated by the patronage and influence of the English nobility. Most candidates for the House of Commons were identified as Whigs or
Tories A Tory () is a person who holds a political philosophy Political philosophy is the philosophical study of government, addressing questions about the nature, scope, and legitimacy of public agents and institutions and the relationships between ...
, but once elected they formed shifting coalitions of interests rather than dividing along clear party lines. At
general election A general election is a political voting election where generally all or most members of a given political body are chosen. These are usually held for a nation, state, or territory's primary legislative body, and are different from by-election ...
s the vote was restricted in most places to property owners, in constituencies which were out of date and did not reflect the growing importance of manufacturing towns or shifts of population, so that in the rotten and pocket boroughs seats in parliament could be bought from the rich landowners who controlled them, while major cities remained unrepresented. Reformers like William Beckford and Radicals beginning with
John Wilkes John Wilkes (17 October 1725 – 26 December 1797) was a British radical Radical may refer to: Arts and entertainment Music *Radical (mixtape), ''Radical'' (mixtape), by Odd Future, 2010 *Radical (Smack album), ''Radical'' (Smack album), 1 ...
called for reform of the system. In 1780, a draft programme of reform was drawn up by
Charles James Fox Charles James Fox (24 January 1749 – 13 September 1806), styled ''The Honourable'' from 1762, was a prominent British British Whig Party, Whig statesman whose parliamentary career spanned 38 years of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. H ...
and
Thomas Brand Hollis Thomas Brand Hollis (1719 – 9 September 1804), born Thomas Brand, was a British political radical and dissenter. Early life Thomas Brand was born the only son of Timothy Brand, a Mercery, mercer of Ingatestone, Essex, and his wife Sarah Michell ...
and put forward by a sub-committee of the electors of Westminster. This included calls for the six points later adopted by the Chartists. The
American War of Independence The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), also known as the Revolutionary War and the American War of Independence, was initiated by delegates from thirteen American colonies of British America British America comprised the colon ...
ended in defeat for a foreign policy that sought to prevent the thirteen American colonies from breaking away and forming their
own independent nation
own independent nation
, something which
George III George III (George William Frederick; 4 June 173829 January 1820) was King of Great Britain There have been 12 British monarchs since the political union of the Kingdom of England The Kingdom of England was a sovereign state on th ...

George III
had fervently advocated, and in March 1782 the king was forced to appoint an administration led by his opponents which sought to curb royal patronage. In November of 1783, he took the opportunity to use his influence in the
House of Lords The House of Lords, formally The Right Honourable the Lords Spiritual and Temporal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled, is the of the . Membership is by , or . Like the , it meets in the . ar ...

House of Lords
to defeat a bill to reform the
Honourable East India Company The East India Company (EIC), also known as the Honourable East India Company (HEIC), East India Trading Company (EITC), the English East India Company or (after 1707) the British East India Company, and informally known as John Company, Comp ...
, dismissed the government of the day, and appointed
William Pitt the Younger William Pitt the Younger (28 May 175923 January 1806) was a prominent Tory A Tory () is a person who holds a political philosophy Political philosophy or political theory is the philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the st ...

William Pitt the Younger
to form a new government. Pitt had previously called for Parliament to begin to reform itself, but he did not press for long for reforms the king did not like. Proposals Pitt made in April 1785 to redistribute seats from the "rotten boroughs" to London and the counties were defeated in the House of Commons by 248 votes to 174. In the wake of the
French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) was a period of radical political and societal change in France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a spanning and in the and the , and s. Its ...

French Revolution
of 1789,
Radical Radical may refer to: Arts and entertainment Music *Radical (mixtape), ''Radical'' (mixtape), by Odd Future, 2010 *Radical (Smack album), ''Radical'' (Smack album), 1988 *"Radicals", a song by Tyler, The Creator from the 2011 album ''Goblin (album ...
organisations such as the
London Corresponding Society The London Corresponding Society (LCS) was a federation of local reading and debating clubs that in the decade following the French Revolution agitated for the democratic reform of the British Parliament. In contrast to other reform associatio ...
sprang up to press for parliamentary reform, but as the
French Revolutionary Wars The French Revolutionary Wars (french: Guerres de la Révolution française) were a series of sweeping military conflicts lasting from 1792 until 1802 and resulting from the French Revolution. They pitted French First Republic, France against Gr ...
developed the government took extensive repressive measures against feared domestic unrest aping the democratic and egalitarian ideals of the French Revolution and progress toward reform was stalled for decades.


Parliament of the United Kingdom

In 1801, the
Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the of the , the and the . It alone possesses and thereby ultimate power over all other political bodies in the UK and the overseas territories. Parliament is but has three parts, consisting of the ...
was created when the
Kingdom of Great Britain The Kingdom of Great Britain, officially called Great Britain,"After the political union of England and Scotland in 1707, the nation's official name became 'Great Britain'", ''The American Pageant, Volume 1'', Cengage Learning (2012) was a s ...

Kingdom of Great Britain
was united with the
Kingdom of Ireland The Kingdom of Ireland ( ga, label=Early Modern Irish, Classical Irish, an Ríoghacht Éireann; ga, label=Irish language#Towards a standard Irish – An Caighdeán Oifigiúil, Modern Irish, an Ríocht Éireann, ) was a client state of Kingdo ...

Kingdom of Ireland
to become the
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was a sovereign state A sovereign state is a political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some f ...

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
under the
Acts of Union 1800 The Acts of Union 1800 (sometimes referred to as a single Act of Union 1801) were parallel acts of the Parliament of Great Britain The Parliament of Great Britain was formed in May 1707 following the ratification of the Acts of Union by ...
.


See also

*
List of Acts of the Parliament of Great Britain This is an ''incomplete'' list of Act of Parliament, Acts of the Parliament of Great Britain, which was in existence from 1707 to 1800 (inclusive). * List of Acts of the Parliament of Great Britain, 1707–1719 * List of Acts of the Parliament of ...
* List of parliaments of Great Britain **
First Parliament of Great Britain The first Parliament In modern politics and history, a parliament is a legislature, legislative body of government. Generally, a modern parliament has three functions: Representation (politics), representing the Election#Suffrage, elect ...
* List of speakers of the British House of Commons *
Parliament of Ireland The Parliament of Ireland ( ga, Parlaimint na hÉireann) was the legislature A legislature is an deliberative assembly, assembly with the authority to make laws for a Polity, political entity such as a Sovereign state, country or city ...
* Members of the Parliament of Great Britain


References


External links


Connected Histories
{{DEFAULTSORT:Parliament of Great Britain 1707 establishments in Great Britain 1801 disestablishments in the United Kingdom
Great Britain Great Britain is an island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on atoll An atoll (), ...
Political history of Great Britain
Great Britain Great Britain is an island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on atoll An atoll (), ...