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AUGUSTAN AGE & THE HANOVERS

After the death of William, Anne ascended the throne. During her reign the war against France ended thanks to John Churchill. Also, thanks to the Peace of Utrecht, England got Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Labrador and Minorca.

We must remember that Scotland became officially united with England with the Act of Union of 1707 (which stated that there was to be only one parliament, the English one, which had to sit at Westminster). In 1714 queen Anne died without heirs, so George I of Hanover became king of England (Sophia of Hanover had died already so, according to the Act of Settlement, George had the right to the throne).

George's court was extremely odd, his wife was really ugly but his lover was by far much more ugly than his wife: it is said she looked like a horse.
Despite this fact, there was an enormous problem: George spoke no English because he was German, so ha couldn't understand his subjects (sudditi) and, of course, the members of the parliament. He had no real comprehension of his people and had to let the government in the hands of the ministers.

He chose the Whigs (ex parliamentarians, supporters of the exclusion bill, so against the king).
Now, the Whigs formed a cabinet composed of the majority party (the Whigs of course), and each ministers was personally responsible to the king. After the formation of the cabinet, they needed a leader and found it in sir Robert Walpole, the first prime minister.
Walpole managed to keep England out of conflicts so that trade could flourish and taxes could be kept down.
From 1726 Walpole and his government were accused of corruption and bribery (abuse of legal power) during the elections. However he got more power under the kingdom of George II, who relied more and more on him and gave him a house in Westminster, which is still the official house of the prime minister.

In 1735 the Whig William Pitt entered parliament as an opponent of Walpole and became prime minister in 1766. he started a mercantilism policy to make England a strong and economically competitive country. This led to a new set of values based on power, wealth and prestige. The new middle-class man of Pitt's age would be reflected in Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe.
In this period, England expanded its possessions in India, north America and the Caribbeans.

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