Robert Banks Jenkinson (1770-1828), 2nd Earl of Liverpool, was Britain's longest serving prime minister since William Pitt the Younger. Liverpool's tenure in office oversaw a series of seismic events including the War of 1812 with the United States, the endgame of the Napoleonic Wars and the Congress of Vienna, the Corn Laws, the Peterloo Massacre, and escalating contention over the issue of Catholic Emancipation. However, Liverpool's overall standing within British political history has been overshadowed by contemporaries such as Castlereagh and Canning, and his reputation and achievements were downplayed by the Reform period that followed.
This new political biography explores Liverpool's career and puts his efforts at resisting change into context, bringing this period of transformation into sharp focus. It shows Liverpool as a defender of the eighteenth-century British constitution, documenting his efforts at adapting institutions to the challenges of war and then the very different post-1815 world. Shaped by eighteenth-century assumptions, Liverpool nonetheless laid the foundations for the nineteenth-century Britain that emerged from the Reform era. This book uses his career and outlook as a way of exploring the crucial transition from the Georgian to the Victorian era.
WILLIAM ANTHONY HAY is Associate Professor of history at Mississippi State University and a fellow of the Royal Historical Society.