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(tô`rē), English political party. The term was originally applied to outlaws in Ireland and was adopted as a derogatory name for supporters of the duke of York (later James IIJames II,
1633–1701, king of England, Scotland, and Ireland (1685–88); second son of Charles I, brother and successor of Charles II. Early Life
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) at the time (c.1679–1680) when the 1st earl of ShaftesburyShaftesbury, Anthony Ashley Cooper, 1st earl of,
1621–83, English statesman. In the English civil war he supported the crown until 1644 but then joined the parliamentarians.
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 was proposing the duke's exclusion from the succession because of his adherence to Roman Catholicism. (The Shaftesbury group came to be known as the WhigWhig,
English political party. The name, originally a term of abuse first used for Scottish Presbyterians in the 17th cent., seems to have been a shortened form of whiggamor [cattle driver]. It was applied (c.
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 party.) Thus the term Tory came to designate the group of men sharing beliefs in ecclesiastical uniformity, strong use of the royal prerogative, and the doctrine of divine, hereditary right to the throne. The Glorious RevolutionGlorious Revolution,
in English history, the events of 1688–89 that resulted in the deposition of James II and the accession of William III and Mary II to the English throne. It is also called the Bloodless Revolution.
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 of 1688, which many Tory leaders supported, forced most Tories to accept some concept of limited royal power, but the party retained its close identification with the Church of England, favoring the restriction of the rights of non-Anglicans. The party at that time represented primarily the country gentry, who, in addition to their staunch Anglicanism, tended to oppose England's involvement in foreign wars. The Tories were favored by Queen AnneAnne,
1665–1714, queen of England, Scotland, and Ireland (1702–7), later queen of Great Britain and Ireland (1707–14), daughter of James II and Anne Hyde; successor to William III.
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 and reached the zenith of their early power (1710–14) under the leadership of Robert HarleyHarley, Robert, 1st earl of Oxford,
1661–1724, English statesman and bibliophile. His career illustrates the power of personal connections and intrigue in the politics of his day.
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, earl of Oxford, and Henry St. JohnSt. John, Henry, Viscount Bolingbroke
, 1678–1751, English statesman. Political Rise

Although he was one of England's great orators, Bolingbroke was also an unstable profligate, and he was generally distrusted.
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, Viscount Bolingbroke. Their hegemony was broken after the accession of George IGeorge I
(George Louis), 1660–1727, king of Great Britain and Ireland (1714–27); son of Sophia, electress of Hanover, and great-grandson of James I. He became (1698) elector of Hanover, fought in the War of the Spanish Succession, and in 1714 succeeded Queen Anne
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, and the party was discredited for its connections with the JacobitesJacobites
, adherents of the exiled branch of the house of Stuart who sought to restore James II and his descendants to the English and Scottish thrones after the Glorious Revolution of 1688. They take their name from the Latin form (Jacobus) of the name James.
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. Supremacy for the next 50 years passed to the Whig factions. After the accession of George IIIGeorge III,
1738–1820, king of Great Britain and Ireland (1760–1820); son of Frederick Louis, prince of Wales, and grandson of George II, whom he succeeded. He was also elector (and later king) of Hanover, but he never visited it.
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 (1760) Tory sympathizers supported the power of the sovereign as the "king's friends." William PittPitt, William,
1759–1806, British statesman; 2d son of William Pitt, 1st earl of Chatham. Trained as a lawyer, he entered Parliament in 1781 and in 1782 at the age of 23 became chancellor of the exchequer under Lord Shelburne.
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 revitalized the faction after 1783, giving it a more solid parliamentary basis. The Tories again became reactionary under the impact of the French RevolutionFrench Revolution,
political upheaval of world importance in France that began in 1789. Origins of the Revolution

Historians disagree in evaluating the factors that brought about the Revolution.
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 but entrenched themselves so firmly in control of the government that they were not dislodged until 1830. In the 1820s the Tories made some attempt to adopt a program of reform, but the Reform Bill of 1832 (see Reform ActsReform Acts
or Reform Bills,
in British history, name given to three major measures that liberalized representation in Parliament in the 19th cent. Representation of the counties and boroughs in the House of Commons had not, except for the effects of parliamentary
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) demoralized the party and destroyed its strength in the House of Commons. The party that grew up thereafter from the remnants of the Tory group came to be known as the Conservative partyConservative party,
British political party, formally the Conservative and Unionist party and a continuation of the historic Tory party. The Rise of the Conservative Party
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. Conservatives to the present day are still referred to as Tories. In the American colonies during the American Revolution, the term Tory was used to signify those who adhered to the policies of the mother country, the LoyalistsLoyalists,
in the American Revolution, colonials who adhered to the British cause. The patriots referred to them as Tories. Although Loyalists were found in all social classes and occupations, a disproportionately large number were engaged in commerce and the professions, or
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See K. Feiling, History of the Tory Party, 1640–1714 (1924, repr. 1959); The Second Tory Party, 1714–1832 (1938, repr. 1959); L. Colley, In Defense of Oligarchy: The Tory Oligarchy, 1714–1760 (1982).


1. a member or supporter of the Conservative Party in Great Britain or Canada
2. a member of the English political party that opposed the exclusion of James, Duke of York from the royal succession (1679--80). Tory remained the label for subsequent major conservative interests until they gave birth to the Conservative Party in the 1830s
3. an American supporter of the British cause; loyalist
4. an ultraconservative or reactionary
5. (in the 17th century) an Irish Roman Catholic, esp an outlaw who preyed upon English settlers
6. ultraconservative or reactionary
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