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Britain – Aspects of Politics, 1714-80

4. Mid-Century Change

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In this module, we turn to see how the arrival of William Pitt the Elder changed politics in the 18th century. The start of the Seven Years’ War with France created a crisis in British politics. The war initially went very badly, creating the impression that the political system created by Walpole was not able to handle the strains of war with France. William Pitt the Elder successfully exploited the situation to present himself as a popular, patriotic statesman. Pitt’s ministry with the Duke of Newcastle was able to fund war with France and achieve the successes of 1758-60. As a result, the Whig hold on power was broken and Tory politicians were increasingly included in political discussions.


In this course, Professor Jeremy Black (University of Exeter) discusses British politics from 1714-80. We start by looking at the challenges the new Hanoverian monarchy faced in this period, mainly from the rival Jacobite claimants. We then turn to look at the development of politics on the national scale under the first two Hanoverian monarchs - George I and II. After this, we have a look at the changes that occurred in British politics in the middle of the 18th century with the arrival of William Pitt the Elder on the political scene. We then turn to see how the system was further altered by the young and energetic George III. After this, we explore how the political system developed and changed as a result of the Imperial Crisis and Revolutionary War in North America. To conclude we look at how by the end of the period the Hanoverian monarchy had established itself in Britain as the leading symbol for patriotism and loyalism.


Professor Jeremy Black is Emeritus Professor of History at the University of Exeter. He is the author of over 180 books, principally but not exclusively on 18th-century British politics and international relations, and has been described as "the most prolific historical scholar of our age". He has also broadened his perspective, both temporally and geographically, and published on the history of the press, cartography, warfare, culture and on the nature and uses of history itself.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Black, J. (2021, October 25). Britain – Aspects of Politics, 1714-80 - Mid-Century Change [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Black, Jeremy. "Britain – Aspects of Politics, 1714-80 – Mid-Century Change." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 25 Oct 2021,

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