Date of Award

Spring 1978

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Director

Norman H. Pollock

Committee Member

Darwin Bostick

Committee Member

Patrick Rollins

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.H47K466


This thesis is an examination of the last four years (1846-1850) of the life of Sir Robert Peel, Prime Minister of England. Peel was one of the great political figures in England during the 1800s, a leader of the Conservative Party for more than fifteen years, and the leading political figure in the successful fight to repeal the Corn Laws in 1846.

Following the defeat of his government in 1846 however, he declined to provide further leadership either to the party or to the small group of his close followers known as the Peelites. The effects of Peel's continued presence in the House of Commons (in a minor role) upon the continued dichotomy within the Conservative Party as well as the actions of Parliament are discussed. The actions of the Peelites, whose attempts to persuade Peel to return to a leadership position resulted in their own indecision on critical issues, are examined as is Peel's decision to support the weak Whig government of Lord John Russell.


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