R. Boyd Hilton A Mad, Bad, and Dangerous People? England 1783-1846, Oxford University Press, 2006 should be regarded as the essential textbook; chapters 4, 6 and 8 are essential on Peel. R. Brown Society and Economy in Modern Britain 1700-1850, Routledge, 1991 and Church and State in Modern Britain 1700-1850, Routledge, 1991 cover the subject in depth from a ‘British perspective. In addition see the following: A. Briggs The Age of Improvement, Longman, 1959, N. Gash Aristocracy and People: Britain 1815-1865, Edward Arnold, 1979, E.J. Evans The Forging of the Modern State: Early industrial Britain 1783-1870, Longman, 3rd ed., 2003, N. McCord British History 1815-1906, OUP, 1991 and M. Bentley Politics Without Democracy 1815-1914: Perception and Preoccupation in British Government, Fontana, 2nd ed., 1999. G. Kitson Clark The Making of Victorian England, Methuen, 1966 is readable and essential for context.
Whigs and Tories
On the question of political parties see E.J. Evans Political Parties in Britain 1783-1867, Methuen, 1985, F. O’ Gorman The Emergence of the British Two-Party System 1760-1832, Edward Arnold, 1982 and B.W. Hill British Parliamentary Parties 1742-1832, Allen and Unwin, 1985. On the Tories see R. Stewart The Foundation of the Conservative Party 1830-1867, Longman, 1978, B.I. Coleman Conservatism and the Conservative Party in Nineteenth-Century Britain, Edward Arnold, l988 and R. Blake The Conservative Party from Peel to Major, Heinemann, 1997.
For the Whigs see J. Parry The Rise and Fall of Liberal Government in Victorian Britain, Yale University Press, 1993, Donald Southgate The Passing of the Whigs, 1832-1886, Macmillan, 1962 and R. Brent Liberal Anglican Politics: Whiggery, Religion and Reform 1830-1841, OUP, 1987. G. Finlayson England in the Eighteen Thirties, Edward Arnold, 1969, A. Llewellyn The Decade of Reform: The 1830s, David & Charles, 1972, I. Newbould Whiggery and Reform 1830-41: the politics of government, Macmillan, 1990 and P. Mandler Aristocratic Government in the Age of Reform, OUP, 1990 are useful for the Whig reforms.
John Prest Politics in the Age of Cobden, Macmillan, 1977 interprets the politics of the 1830s and 1840s as a continuous registration conflict in which the Conservatives first seized the initiative and then lost it to the Anti-Corn Law League and to the Reformers.
There are three important papers on the 1841 election: R.H. Cameron ‘The Melbourne Administration, the Liberals, and the crisis of 1841’, Durham University Journal, volume 69, (1976), pages 83-102B. Kemp ‘The General Election of 1841’, History, volume 37 (1952), pages 146-152 and B. Jaggard The 1841 British General Election: a Reconsideration’, Australian Journal of Politics & History, volume 30, (1984), pages 99-114.
Peel in government
Norman Gash Politics in the Age of Peel: A Study in the Technique of Parliamentary Representation, 1830-1850, Humanities Press, 1977 and Reaction and Reconstruction in English Politics 1832-1852, OUP, 1965 provide the best analyses of the operation of the electoral system after 1832 but should be read in conjunction with D.C. Moore The Politics of Deference, Harvester, 1976 for an alternative perspective.
Norman Gash Mr Secretary Peel: the life of Sir Robert Peel to 1830, 2nd edition, London, 1985 and Sir Robert Peel: the life of Sir Robert Peel after 1830, 2nd edition, London, 1986 remains the most extensive biography. This needs to be read in conjunction with the revisionist paper by Boyd Hilton ‘Peel: a Reappraisal’, Historical Journal, volume xxii, (1979), pages 585-614
For Peel and his role in the development of the Conservative Party in addition to the general works cited above see: G Kitson Clark Peel and the Conservative Party: A Study in Party Politics,
1832-1841, G Bell & Sons, Ltd., 1929 and the following articles by Norman Gash ‘Peel and the Party System’, Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 5th series, volume 1, (1951), pages 47-59 Norman Gash ‘The Organisation of the Conservative Party 1832-46’, Parliamentary History, volumes i and ii, (1982, 1983), pages 137-159, 131-152, David Close ‘The Rise of the Conservatives in the Age of Reform’, Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research, volume 45, (1972), pages 89-103 and I.D.C. Newbould ‘Sir Robert Peel and the Conservative Party, 1832-1841: a Study in Failure?’ English Historical Review, volume xcviii, (1983), pages 529-557.
For Peel’s ministry see T.L. Crosby Sir Robert Peel’s Administration 1841-1846, David & Charles, 1970. M.J. Daunton Trusting Leviathan; the Politics of Taxation in Britain, 1799-1914, Cambridge, 2001 is excellent on Peel’s fiscal policies. G. Kitson Clark ‘Hunger and Politics in 1842’, Journal of Modern History, (1953) remain invaluable on the crisis of 1842. Philip Harling The Waning of ‘Old Corruption’: The Politics of Economical Reform in Britain 1779-1846, Oxford University Press, 1996, pages 228-254 considers Peel’s ministry. On Peel’s policies see: R. Stewart ‘The Ten Hours and Sugar Crises of 1844: Government and the House of Commons in the Age of Reform’, Historical Journal, volume 12, (1969), pages 35-57, D.R. Fisher ‘Peel and the Conservative Party: The Sugar Crisis of 1844 reconsidered’, Historical Journal, volume xviii, (1975), pages 279-302, J.H. Treble & J.T. Ward ‘Religion and Education in 1843: Reaction to the Factory Education Bill,’ Journal of Ecclesiastical History, volume 20, (1969), pages 79-110 and P.J. Welch ‘Blomfield and Peel: A Study in Cooperation between Church and State, 1841-46’, Journal of Ecclesiastical History, volume 12, (1961), pages 71-84.
J B Conacher The Peelites and the Party System, 1846-1852, David & Charles, 1972 and Wilbur Devereux Jones & Arvel B Erikson The Peelites 1846-1857, Ohio, Ohio State University Press, 1972 consider Peel and his supporters after repeal in 1846.
The crisis of 1845-1846
C.R. Fay The Corn Law and Social England. Cambridge, 1932 remains the most valuable discussion of the nature of the Corn Laws while D.G. Barnes A History of the English Corn Laws 1660-1846, 1930 takes a broader approach. T. L. Crosby English Farmers and the politics of protection 1815-1852, Harvester, 1977 examines the protectionist position while A. Gambles Protection and Politics; Conservative Economic Discourse, 1815-1852, Boydell, 1999 considers the development of Conservative economic thinking. A. Gambles ‘Re-thinking the Politics of Protection; Conservatism and the Corn Laws, 1830-1852’, English Historical Review, volume 113, (1998), pages 928-952 and A. Macintyre ‘Lord George Bentinck and the Protectionist Case; A Lost Cause?’ Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 5th series, volume 39, (1989), pages 141-165 consider the Protectionist case. G.L. Mosse ‘The Anti-League, 1844-46’, Economic History Review, volume 17, (1947), pages 134-142 is the only study of the Protectionist organisation that opposed the Anti-Corn Law League. R. Stewart The Politics of Protection: Lord Derby & the Protectionist Party, CUP, 1971 examines the role of those opposed to Peel’s ‘modernisation’ of the tariff system.
W.H. Chaloner ‘The Agitation against the Corn Laws,’ J.T. Ward (ed.), Popular Movements 1830-1850, Macmillan, 1970, pages 135- 151 is a good, if brief introduction. Norman McCord The Anti-Corn Law League, Allen and Unwin, 1968 is the standard study and Norman Longmate The Breadstealers: The Fight against the Corn Laws 1838-1846, Temple, 1984 is a good narrative account. However, both need to be read in relation to the revisionist study by Paul A. Pickering and Alex Tyrrell The People’s Bread: A History of the Anti-Corn Law League, Leicester University Press, 2000. Biographies by W. Hinde Richard Cobden: A Victorian Outsider, Yale, 1987, R. Edsall Richard Cobden: Independent Radical, Harvard, 1987 and Keith Robbins John Bright, Routledge, 1979 contain much on the Anti-Corn Law League.
Lucy Brown The Board of Trade and the Free Trade Movement 1830-42 remains invaluable on the development of policy. G.S.R. Kitson Clark ‘The Repeal of the Corn Laws and the Politics of the Forties’, Economic History Review, 4th series, volume 4, (1951), pages 1-13 and ‘The electorate and the repeal of the corn laws’, Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 5th series, volume 1, (1951), pages 109-26 places repeal in context. F.A. Dreyer ‘The Whigs and the Political Crisis of 1845’, English Historical Review, volume 80, (1965), pages 514-537 considers the role played by Russell and the Whigs. W.O. Aydelotte ‘The Disintegration of the Conservative party in the 1840s,’ W.O. Ayedelotte, A.G. Bogne & R.W. Fogel (eds.) The Dimensions of Quantitative Research in History is valuable on how Conservatives voted during Peel’s government. Lucy Brown ‘The Chartists and the Anti-Corn Law League,’ A. Briggs (ed.) Chartist Studies, Macmillan, 1959, pages 342-371 is the only real study of the relationship between the two central pressure groups in the 1840s.
The debate on the impact of repeal is best explored in: Susan Fairlie ‘The Nineteenth Century Corn Law Reconsidered,’ Economic History Review, 2nd series, volume xviii, (1965), pages 562-575, S. Fairlie ‘The Corn Laws and British Wheat Production, 1829-1876,’ Economic History Review, 2nd series, volume xxii, (1969), pages 88-116, D.C. Moore ‘The Corn Laws and High Farming’, Economic History Review, 2nd series, volume xviii, (1965), pages 544-561 and E.L. Jones ‘The Changing Basis of British Agricultural Prosperity, 1853-1873,’ Agricultural History Review, volume 10, (1962), pages 102-119. J. Prest ‘A Large amount or a Small? Revenue and the Nineteenth Century Corn Laws,’ Historical Journal, volume 39, (1996), pages 467-478 provides an interesting perspective.
Three studies that cover most of the century which have things to say about middle class radicalism and the Anti-Corn Law League: D.A. Hamer The Politics of Electoral Pressure: a study in the history of Victorian reform agitation, Harvester, 1977, chapter 5, Paul Adelman Victorian Radicalism: the middle-class experience 1830-1914, Longman, 1984 and A. Tyrrell Joseph Sturge and the Moral Radical Party in Early Victorian Britain, Croom Helm, 1987. P. Hollis (ed.) Pressure From Without in Early Victorian England, Edward Arnold, 1974 contains some invaluable essays on pressure group politics.