The Call for Reform


DIDYOUKNOW Did You Know

Did you know that demands for economic and political reform reached a crisis point in the years after Waterloo? The country experienced a recession in the aftermath of the wars and unemployment skyrocketed, aggravated by hoards of returning soldiers looking for work. Prices rose at the same time, while Parliament refused to reform the Corn Laws. The Corn Laws were a set of tariffs and trade restrictions on all grains designed to discourage imports and keep the price of domestic products artificially high. They benefited the top 10% of the population, while harming the other 90%. Starvation became widespread. Radical voices got louder in the period 1815-1819 calling for parliamentary reform, an end to the Corn Laws, and expansion of the right to vote. The country seethed with unrest in those years. There was an equally widespread fear of revolution among the upper classes. The Reign of Terror occurred less than thirty years before, and was fresh in the memory of the aristocracy. Those in power feared violence and chaos as the natural result of the reform movements.

The Upright Son takes place against this background.

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