Why Did Pitt the Younger Become Prime MinisterNovember 7, 2017
In 1773, geed only fourteen years, he attended Pembroke Hall (now Pembroke College, Cambridge), where he studied political philosophy, classics, mathematics, chemistry, and history. At Cambridge, Pit was tutored by George Prepayment who became a close personal friend. Pit’s fantastic and early education put him on top of many other politicians as he was well respected and had also developed skills which would be very useful as time went by, especially in political philosophy where he would learn to carefully analyses political problems, and transfer his thoughts successfully via his writing skills obtained from classics and history.
Of course Pit’s early political career was very important, as it is essential to recognize that he achieved his post as Prime Minister only by cleverly and politically climbing up the political ladder. During the 1780 elections, Pit contested the “University of Cambridge” seat. But unfortunately lost. However during the next year of 1781, Pit entered the House of Commons, within a year of entering the House of Commons, Pit was appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer. The Death of Lord Rocking was also very important for Pit’s rise to power.
Many Whig who had armed a part of the Rocking ministry, including Charles James Fox, now refused to serve under the new Prime Minister. Pit, however, was comfortable joining the Sullener Government; he was appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer (making use of his mathematics education). The second reason was the American War; Pit denounced the continuation of the American War of Independence, as his father strongly had. Instead he proposed that the Prime Minister, Lord North, make peace with the rebellious American colonies.
Another Important issue with which Pit had to concern himself was the national bet, which Increased dramatically due to the American War of Independence. Pit sought to eliminate the national debt by imposing new taxes. Pit also introduced measures to reduce smuggling and fraud. In 1786, he instituted a sinking fund to reduce the national debt. This was very popular amongst other politicians, as the national debt was making life harder for them, and with Pit’s new measures they felt as though they had a great burden lifted from their shoulders.
Fox-North coalition Lord North was not an option as King George Ill despised Fox greatly. This meant the next best alternative was indeed William Pit (for the king), his leads me onto my next point. William Pit at the full support of George Ill, which helped him massively, and was most probably the most important reason toward his appointment in office, the King (George Ill) despised the Fox-North coalition and wanted to destroy it.
The aid of patronage and bribes paid by the Treasury were normally expected to be enough to secure the Government a comfortable majority in the House of Commons but on this occasion the government reaped much popular support as well. With the King on your side, you also gained some public support, as some people saw the king as their purple leader, and with the king supporting Pit, they felt as if it was perhaps their duty to also support Pit.
In conclusion, I think that the most important reason toward Pit’s rise to power was the support of the King. It also meant that on the 2nd March 1784 the King was more than willing to allow Pit to dissolve parliament and call a general election so he could therefore win. The second most important was Pit’s own skill. As without this he would have not had the brains to decline his first offer into office, as he knew that it would have been impossible for him to gain parliament on his side.