Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


School of Arts


Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Assoc Professor Ed Jaggard


The thesis seeks to combine an historiographical reappraisal of Michael Thomas Sadler, 1780-1835, with an account of his political thought and actions during his parliamentary career, 1829-1833. Sadler was an Ultra-Tory, although he has also been called a Radical Tory. Central to Ultra-Tory philosophy was the defence of the Revolution Settlement, or Protestant Constitution. This thesis opens with an explanation as to why Sadler was chosen as a research subject. Section one gives a general background to Sadler. The thesis begins with a brief biographical sketch followed by a detailed historiographical assessment. Sadler’s basic philosophy is outlined and his opposition to Catholic emancipation and parliamentary reform is examined. The second section finds Sadler’s social and economic reforming activities the focus of attention. Although we move away from strictly constitutional issues the section explores Sadler’s concern for the downtrodden in England and Ireland. Indeed, for Sadler, the ‘aristocratic ideal’ – the need to look after the material well- being of British subjects – was as important as preserving the political framework of the Constitution. The question of a poor law for Ireland and factory legislation in England are two key areas under examination. Another chapter in the section examines Sadler’s attempts at reform on behalf of the agricultural labourers of Britain. The thesis concludes with a reappraisal of Sadler’s contribution to social reform in the early nineteenth century together with a reassessment of his position within the Tory party.

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