Whigs and Tories

(329 words)

Historical Context Note

It is difficult to identify a date when the terms ‘Whig’ and ‘Tory’ first came into use in the political arena, although it was sometime in the late Stuart period. By 1680, however, they were clearly in use to describe the two principal factions in British politics that roughly represented Court (Tory) and Country (Whig). The Court party, principally made up of the clergy and the smaller landowners, stood for Crown privilege and prerogative, whereas the Country party represented the self-confident claims made by the other great power bases in seventeenth-century England, the merchant class and the great landowners, through Parliament. These disputes came to a head in the constitutional crisis of 1688-90, when …

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Clark, Robert. "Whigs and Tories". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 06 July 2002
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=1203, accessed 25 November 2015.]