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Quiz about Big Whigs
Quiz about Big Whigs

Big Whigs Trivia Quiz


Can you match up these British Prime Ministers (who all belonged to the Whig party) with some of the key facts and events of their periods in office?

A matching quiz by Fifiona81. Estimated time: 5 mins.
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Author
Fifiona81
Time
5 mins
Type
Match Quiz
Quiz #
380,317
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
7 / 10
Plays
223
Awards
Top 10% Quiz
(a) Drag-and-drop from the right to the left, or (b) click on a right side answer box and then on a left side box to move it.
QuestionsChoices
1. Generally recognised as the first British Prime Minister, he had to deal with the aftermath of the South Sea Bubble crisis and instigated the War of Jenkins' Ear in 1739.  
  Duke of Newcastle
2. This man (who never sat in the House of Lords) had to deal with both the Jacobite rising led by Bonnie Prince Charlie in 1745 and the adoption of the Gregorian calendar that resulted in the 'loss' of 11 days of his term in office.  
  Duke of Portland
3. The first Prime Minister to have never sat in the House of Commons oversaw the majority of the Seven Years' War, including the 'Annus Mirabilis' of 1759.   
  George Grenville
4. This man managed to infuriate the American colonies by passing both the Currency Act of 1764 and the infamous Stamp Act of 1765.   
  Henry Pelham
5. This peer's first stint as Prime Minister lasted less than a year but included the signing of the Treaty of Paris to end the American Revolutionary War in 1783.  
  Lord Palmerston
6. Head of the government known as the 'Ministry of All the Talents' and son of a former Prime Minister; oversaw the act responsible for abolishing the slave trade in the British Empire.   
  Lord Grenville
7. While he wasn't busy drinking tea flavoured with bergamot, this man's four year term in office included the passing of the Great Reform Act of 1832.  
  Lord Russell
8. After dealing with Parliament being burnt to the ground in 1834, this Prime Minister had an Australian city named after him. His resignation caused the 'Bedchamber Crisis'.  
  Earl Grey
9. The grandfather of a famous philosopher - this man's first ministry, from 1846 to 1852, was blighted by the Irish Potato Famine.  
  Lord Melbourne
10. The last 'Whig' government was led by this man who focused on foreign policy; he oversaw the ending of the Crimean War in 1856 and led Britain into the Second Opium War with China.  
  Sir Robert Walpole





Select each answer

1. Generally recognised as the first British Prime Minister, he had to deal with the aftermath of the South Sea Bubble crisis and instigated the War of Jenkins' Ear in 1739.
2. This man (who never sat in the House of Lords) had to deal with both the Jacobite rising led by Bonnie Prince Charlie in 1745 and the adoption of the Gregorian calendar that resulted in the 'loss' of 11 days of his term in office.
3. The first Prime Minister to have never sat in the House of Commons oversaw the majority of the Seven Years' War, including the 'Annus Mirabilis' of 1759.
4. This man managed to infuriate the American colonies by passing both the Currency Act of 1764 and the infamous Stamp Act of 1765.
5. This peer's first stint as Prime Minister lasted less than a year but included the signing of the Treaty of Paris to end the American Revolutionary War in 1783.
6. Head of the government known as the 'Ministry of All the Talents' and son of a former Prime Minister; oversaw the act responsible for abolishing the slave trade in the British Empire.
7. While he wasn't busy drinking tea flavoured with bergamot, this man's four year term in office included the passing of the Great Reform Act of 1832.
8. After dealing with Parliament being burnt to the ground in 1834, this Prime Minister had an Australian city named after him. His resignation caused the 'Bedchamber Crisis'.
9. The grandfather of a famous philosopher - this man's first ministry, from 1846 to 1852, was blighted by the Irish Potato Famine.
10. The last 'Whig' government was led by this man who focused on foreign policy; he oversaw the ending of the Crimean War in 1856 and led Britain into the Second Opium War with China.

Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. Generally recognised as the first British Prime Minister, he had to deal with the aftermath of the South Sea Bubble crisis and instigated the War of Jenkins' Ear in 1739.

Answer: Sir Robert Walpole

Since the office of 'Prime Minister' was never formally created (it essentially evolved from convention and various historical events) the identification of Sir Robert Walpole as the first British Prime Minister is largely just tradition. He was appointed as First Lord of the Treasury (a title that also traditionally goes with the role of Prime Minister) in 1721 and continued in that job until 1742, when he was forced to resign due to a combination of allegations of corruption and a major (and embarrassing) defeat of the nation's armed forces by the Spanish at the Battle of Cartagena de Indias - part of the War of Jenkins' Ear.

The South Sea Bubble crisis developed from the collapse of the South Sea Company in 1720 and left many people and businesses financially ruined. Walpole was left to both pick up the economic pieces and oversee the investigation into the associated fraud and corruption committed by both the company's executives and members of the government.
2. This man (who never sat in the House of Lords) had to deal with both the Jacobite rising led by Bonnie Prince Charlie in 1745 and the adoption of the Gregorian calendar that resulted in the 'loss' of 11 days of his term in office.

Answer: Henry Pelham

Henry Pelham held the office of Prime Minister from 1743 until 1754, when he died in office. His untimely demise probably explains why he was never elevated to the House of Lords, like the majority of previously untitled 18th and 19th century Prime Ministers. His ten and a half years as Prime Minister did not include the 3rd to the 13th of September 1752, as these dates were skipped as part of the conversion from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar.

The Jacobite rising of 1745 was the final serious attempt of the descendants of the deposed King James II to reclaim the British throne. Charles Edward Stuart (a.k.a. Bonnie Prince Charlie), with French support, landed in Scotland, raised an army and marched into England. A ferocious encounter with government forces at the Battle of Culloden ended in defeat and Charles was forced to flee back to France.
3. The first Prime Minister to have never sat in the House of Commons oversaw the majority of the Seven Years' War, including the 'Annus Mirabilis' of 1759.

Answer: Duke of Newcastle

Thomas Pelham-Holles, the 1st Duke of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and 1st Duke of Newcastle-under-Lyne (plus several other more minor titles) is more commonly remembered by the slightly snappier name of 'Duke of Newcastle'. He was the elder brother of Henry Pelham and succeeded him as Prime Minister in 1754. Since he was just 18 years old when he inherited the title of Baron Pelham of Laughton on his father's death, he never had the chance to sit in the House of Commons.

Newcastle had two stints in office as Prime Minister between 1754 and 1762 (the Duke of Devonshire held the position for eight months between November 1756 and July 1757) and during both of them he had to deal with Britain's role in the Seven Years' War - a conflict that had engulfed most of Europe and was being fought across several continents. Britain's 'Annus Mirabilis' in 1759 was so-called because both the army and the Royal Navy managed to record a string of victories against the French. This was in stark contrast to the earlier years of the war that had included catastrophic defeats such as the loss of Minorca and the Siege of Fort William Henry.
4. This man managed to infuriate the American colonies by passing both the Currency Act of 1764 and the infamous Stamp Act of 1765.

Answer: George Grenville

George Grenville only held the position of British Prime Minister for just over two years, but he managed to introduce several measures which were later identified as factors in the American Declaration of Independence and the Revolutionary War that followed it. He was not the most popular of political figures with his peers and was eventually sacked by King George III in 1765, just four months after his controversial Stamp Act was passed by parliament.

Both the Currency Act of 1764 and the Stamp Act of 1765 were unpopular in the American colonies. The Currency Act limited the use of paper money in the colonies and caused financial hardship as a result - Benjamin Franklin was just one of various colonial agents to lobby for the act to be repealed. The Stamp Act imposed direct taxation on the colonies in order to pay for a large (and probably unnecessary) British military presence in North America. Needless to say the colonists were not impressed and the popular use of the slogan "No taxation without representation" summed up the ill-feeling caused by Americans being forced to pay taxes to a government they had no role in electing. Once Grenville had been replaced, the act was repealed - but it was probably a case of too little, too late.
5. This peer's first stint as Prime Minister lasted less than a year but included the signing of the Treaty of Paris to end the American Revolutionary War in 1783.

Answer: Duke of Portland

In April 1783, William Cavendish-Bentinck, better known as the 3rd Duke of Portland, became Prime Minister as the titular head of a coalition government that was actually jointly led by Charles Fox (a Whig) and Lord North (a Tory). The coalition didn't last long and was dismissed by King George III in December of the same year - however, they did manage to sort out a peaceful end to the American Revolutionary War, which resulted in the signing of the Treaty of Paris. Portland also had a second stint as Prime Minister from 1807 to 1809 - 24 years after his first attempt at the job!

The 1783 Treaty of Paris dealt only with ending the war between Britain and the USA and didn't include the peace settlements between Britain and the other countries involved in the wider conflict such as France, Spain and the Netherlands. It established the USA as an independent country and determined the boundaries between the USA and what was later to become Canada. The British government's intention behind the terms offered in the treaty was to break the French-American alliance and secure the USA as a future trading partner; an aim that turned out to be largely successful.
6. Head of the government known as the 'Ministry of All the Talents' and son of a former Prime Minister; oversaw the act responsible for abolishing the slave trade in the British Empire.

Answer: Lord Grenville

William Wyndham Grenville, 1st Baron Grenville was the youngest son of George Grenville. He became Prime Minister in 1806, 41 years after his father was ousted from the job. His family connections to the job were extensive - his direct predecessor was his first cousin, William Pitt the Younger and Pitt's father the Earl of Chatham (or William Pitt the Elder) was also a former Prime Minister.

The 'Ministry of All the Talents' was a short-lived coalition government that was formed due to Grenville's desire to have the most able politicians (regardless of political party) in his government whilst Britain was at war with France. It succeeded in passing the Slave Trade Act of 1807 that abolished the trade in slaves within the British Empire, but failed to actually outlaw slavery itself. It took another 26 years before the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 finally made owning other people illegal in most of the British Empire - and a further 10 years beyond that before it was implemented in all parts of it.
7. While he wasn't busy drinking tea flavoured with bergamot, this man's four year term in office included the passing of the Great Reform Act of 1832.

Answer: Earl Grey

Formally known as the Representation of the People Act 1832, the Great Reform Act was the culmination of several years campaigning for a fairer electoral system in England and Wales. Prior to 1832, seats in the House of Commons were only really open to the wealthy and politically well-connected. 'Rotten boroughs' - areas with incredibly small electorates controlled by a wealthy landlord - were easy routes into Parliament and resulted in strange situations where small villages had multiple MPs, but new cities that were home to thousands of people had no representation at all.

The Act of 1832 improved the situation, abolishing the 'rotten boroughs', creating new seats for the new industrial cities and granting the vote to a wider group of men - those who owned or rented property worth between 10 and 50 a year. Despite these measures, the country was still a long way from a free, fair and open electoral system - the secret ballot wasn't introduced until 1872, MPs didn't receive a salary until 1911 and women weren't granted the vote on the same terms as men until 1928.
8. After dealing with Parliament being burnt to the ground in 1834, this Prime Minister had an Australian city named after him. His resignation caused the 'Bedchamber Crisis'.

Answer: Lord Melbourne

William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne was Prime Minister twice. His first stint in the job in 1834 ended after less than four months when he was ousted by the monarch, King William IV. This marks the last time that the British monarch directly chose to dismiss the Prime Minister and their government of their own accord. Although the monarch technically still retains the power to dismiss the Prime Minister, government ministers and even parliament under the Royal Prerogative, in practice this role is now purely ceremonial. Despite not having much time in office, Melbourne did have to deal with the Houses of Parliament being destroyed by fire in October 1834.

Melbourne was back in power by 1835 and remained in office until August 1841. During this time Queen Victoria ascended to the throne and Melbourne became an important advisor to her, as well as something of a father figure. In 1839, Melbourne's short-lived attempt to resign from the job instigated the 'Bedchamber Crisis' - Queen Victoria was definitely not amused at the thought of having to replace her Whig ladies of the bedchamber with the wives of Tory lords loyal to Melbourne's rival Sir Robert Peel.
9. The grandfather of a famous philosopher - this man's first ministry, from 1846 to 1852, was blighted by the Irish Potato Famine.

Answer: Lord Russell

Lord John Russell was a younger son of the Duke of Bedford, so had all the aristocratic connections necessary for a successful political career in the mid-19th century. Unfortunately he spent six years as Prime Minister without managing to achieve very much - in fact it could be argued that he made life distinctly worse for the people of Ireland. The Irish Potato Famine of the late 1840s and early 1850s resulted in approximately a million deaths and the emigration of hundreds of thousands of people. Russell's government's response was ineffectual to say the least - they failed to prevent food being exported at a time when a large proportion of the population were starving; they limited the supply of food aid; and their Poor Law Amendment Act of 1847 resulted in rich landlords ejecting poor and starving tenants from their homes.

By the time he returned to power in 1865-6, Lord Russell had been created 1st Earl Russell and elevated to the House of Lords. He was also no longer a Whig as the party had been subsumed into the new Liberal Party.

His grandson, who went on to become the 3rd Earl Russell, was the noted philosopher and Nobel Prize winner, Bertrand Russell.
10. The last 'Whig' government was led by this man who focused on foreign policy; he oversaw the ending of the Crimean War in 1856 and led Britain into the Second Opium War with China.

Answer: Lord Palmerston

The last government formed by the Whig Party was the first administration of Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston (better known simply as Lord Palmerston) of 1855 to 1858. By the time he returned to office in 1859 it was as the head of the Liberal Party - which had been formed from the Whigs, Radicals and free-trade Peelites.

Palmerston was well-known for his love of foreign policy, having served as Foreign Secretary on three separate occasions. His time as Prime Minister was also focused on foreign affairs, firstly on achieving a favourable end to the Crimean War for Britain and her allies and then on the Second Opium War against the Chinese. (The term 'Opium War' stemmed from one of the key British aims - legalising the opium trade!) Popular support for the Second Opium War was also a key factor in Palmerston's victory in the General Election of 1857.

However, the last Whig government did manage to make lasting changes to life in Britain as well - in 1857 they passed the Matrimonial Causes Act, which made it possible for the courts to grant divorces and opened up the option of divorce to the majority rather than just the rich elite.
Source: Author Fifiona81

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