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The British two party system begins with the struggle for parliamentary supremacy between Whig and Tory during the period 1670 to 1714 For the remainder of the 18th century the conflict lay between Whig and Whig The Rockingham Whigs found in Edmund Burke a substantial political theorist In 1770 Burke offered a cogent defence of party as an institution Party is a body of men united for promoting by their joint endeavours the national interest upon some particular principle upon which they are all agreed Party was thus elevated above mere faction In 1779 Capel Loft wrote that faction consisted of narrow views selfish interests and corrupt measures whereas party was formed for the general good to promote truth freedom virtue George IIIs reassertion of independent authority implied an attack on party as a device for limiting his powers and therefore sought to discredit party He successfully installed William Pitt in the 1780s a Prime Minister of his own choosing It was a pro Pitt commentator Major John Scott who published in 1789 In a free state and a mixed Government like ours there will always be two parties The French Revolution 1788-1812 transformed British political life Faced with the impact of the Revolution Burke observed that the prime duty of government was the preservation of social order The vast majority of Englishmen with property of any kind to safe guard rallied to the defence of the existing system Property was urged as the basis both of the wealth and the stability of the country and those with property could be trusted to use their votes and influence wisely whilst the poor would be swayed by emotional appeals and were insufficiently educated or reflective to be trusted with votes This deep divide between the rich and the poor underlined the class society of Britain and formed the cleavage between Conservatism and the Liberals This distinction was carried into the 20th century Conservative and
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