The term Whiggism refers to the philosophical principles of the British Whig party, the name attached to the reformist political party that, by the mid-19th century, had come to be called the Liberal party. The term Whig appears to be Scots Gaelic, a derogatory term for horse thief, that was used to describe adherents of the Presbyterian cause in Scotland in the early 17th century. The Tory Party, the traditional political opposition to the Whigs, fared no better in its designation, “Tory” having derived from an Irish term for those associated with the Papist outlaws loyal to the deposed James II.

Following the Restoration of the Stuarts to the English throne in 1660, the House of Commons found itself divided between a Country party, who regarded ...

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