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A member of a British political party traditionally opposed to the Whigs. In the political crisis of 1679 royalist supporters, who opposed the recall of Parliament and supported the Stuart succession, were labelled Tories (Irish Catholic brigands) by their opponents. In the reign of James II many Tories preferred passive obedience to open defiance; they supported the royal prerogative, close links between church and state, and an isolationist foreign policy. The Tories had a brief revival under Robert Harley late in Queen Anne's reign, but were defeated in the 1715 general election and reduced to a ‘country’ party with about 120 Members of Parliament and no effective leaders. The Hanoverian succession dealt a severe blow to the Tories, as George I and George II preferred to trust the Whigs. The political power struggle in the 1760s was between rival Whig factions, despite pejorative accusations of Toryism levelled at Bute, Grafton, and North. William Pitt the Younger, the independent Whig, fought the Foxite Whigs, and it was from the independent Whigs that the new Tory party of the 19th century emerged.

In colonial America loyalists to the crown were called Tories.

Subjects: Regional and National History.

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