Monday, November 3, 2008

What made Robert Walpole such an effective politician/prime minister?

So I was responding to Brittany's post, when I realized that my comment was long enough to become a post of it's own. But alas! When I looked there was no corresponding prompt to be found! Then I thought, "Gee , wouldn't this just be a great opportunity to create my own prompt!" So that's what I did.

Robert Walpole was one cool fellow. He had a knack for predicting the future; he seemed to have a developed understanding of how things done today will play out in the long run. Walpole saw the importance of the South Sea and East India Companies and the Bank of England--which gave Britain it's remarkable spending power through the National Debt system--even with all the problems they'd caused with the "bubble burst" of the 1720's. France on the other hand, failed to recognize this and in an act of frustration dissolved the valuable national bank that John Law had installed. Furthermore, Walpole had warned of the South Sea Companies eminent failure from the beginning. Walpole also skilled at not disturbing political hornets' nests and gaining allies. He kept land taxes down, thus convincing the Tory squires to join with the Whigs and causing the Jacobites to subside. During the calm, the Parliament had time to develop. Walpole always made sure to keep a majority in the issues he dealt with and to get rid of opposition; he piecemeal gave himself a greater say in matters. He was able to effectively introduce his innovative cabinet government which laid the grounds for the modern day executive branch. The cabinet in addition to the preexisting representative body strengthened Parliament greatly. He also kept taxes down by avoiding war as often as possible. All in all, Walpole did Britain a lot of good.

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