JMC fellow William Anthony Hay recently published a new book, Lord Liverpool: A Political Life. The book is available for purchase on Amazon. Below is a synopsis of the book published in The University Bookman.
Why We Need Liverpool
While traveling with Tsar Alexander and the allied army campaigning against Napoleon as Britain’s ambassador in 1813, the Earl of Aberdeen remarked that “the heroes we read of at a distance with respect dwindle into minor figures at a near approach.” Much the same applies in reverse with statesmen whose public standing falls short of their real merits and accomplishments. Robert Banks Jenkinson, 2nd Earl of Liverpool and Britain’s prime minister from 1812 to 1827, offers a case in point. Leading colleagues—among them Lord Castlereagh, George Canning, the Duke of Wellington, and Sir Robert Peel—held the limelight even as Liverpool provided the keystone holding together the political architecture of early nineteenth century Britain.
Liverpool spent nearly fifteen years as prime minister, an uninterrupted tenure no successor has yet matched. Only two earlier prime ministers, Sir Robert Walpole and William Pitt the Younger exceeded it. Holding office so long itself marks an accomplishment, but Liverpool built a formidable record leading Britain through the final stages of the Napoleonic Wars, a peace settlement that won unprecedented security, and then social turmoil worsened by a postwar slump. Prime ministers before and after him dealt effectively with either foreign crises or equally difficult problems at home. Liverpool handled both with more success than most. Weathering those challenges, he set down a line of conservative policy with lasting effect. If, as an observer remarked, whoever writes England’s history of the period must necessarily write Liverpool’s biography, his life and career offer a revealing palimpsest for a pivotal era.
William Anthony Hay is an Associate Professor of History and Director of the College of Arts & Sciences Institute for the Humanities at Mississippi State. He specializes in British History and International Relations since the eighteenth century. Elected a fellow of the Royal Historical Society in 2009, Hay is a past-president of the Southern Conference on British Studies. Along with research grants from the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation and the Earhart Foundation, he has held fellowships at the Lewis Walpole Library and Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University and the William L. Clements Library at the University of Michigan.
Hay is currently writing a book tentatively entitled King George’s Generals: Strategy, Policy and Britain’s War for America, 1763-1781. Boydell & Brewer will publish Hay’s latest book Lord Liverpool: A Political Life in Spring 2018. His first book The Whig Revival, 1808-1830 (Palgrave: 2005) examines the political realignment that brought the Whigs to power in 1830 through an alliance with provincial interests. Hay writes regularly for publications including the Wall Street Journal, National Interest and Literary Review. Before coming to Mississippi State, Hay directed a program on European politics and U.S. foreign policy at Foreign Policy Research Institute. Hay received his Ph.D. Modern European and International History from the University of Virginia in 2000.
Want to help the Jack Miller Center transform higher education? Donate today.