Unformatted text preview: The Ascendancy of Commons Despite a general division into Whig and Tory parties toward the end of the 17th cent., political groupings in Parliament were more inclined to form about a particular personality or issue. Although members had considerable freedom to make temporary political alliances without regard to their constituencies, control over members was exercised by the ministry and the crown through patronage, which rested on the purchase of parliamentary seats and tight control over a narrow electorate. As members were paid no salaries, private wealth and liberal patronage were prerequisites to a seat in Commons; as a result, Parliament represented only the propertied upper classes, and private legislation took precedence over public acts throughout the 18th cent. The parliamentary skills of Sir Robert Walpole , in many respects the first prime minister, both signified and contributed to the growing importance of Commons. The crown retained the theoretical power to appoint a ministry of its choice, but the resignation (1782) of George III's...
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This note was uploaded on 01/04/2012 for the course AMH AMH2010 taught by Professor Pietrzak during the Fall '10 term at Broward College.
- Fall '10