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He was a country squire and looked to country gentlemen for his political base.Historian Frank O'Gorman says his leadership in Parliament reflected his "reasonable and persuasive oratory, his ability to move both the emotions as well as the minds of men, and, above all, his extraordinary self-confidence." Hoppit says Walpole's policies sought moderation: he worked for peace, lower taxes, growing exports, and allowed a little more tolerance for Protestant Dissenters.A paper in his father's handwriting, dated 9 June 1700, shows the family estate in Norfolk and Suffolk to have been nine manors in Norfolk and one in Suffolk.As a young man, Walpole had bought shares in the South Sea Company, which monopolized trade with Spain, the Caribbean and South America.

However, Walpole had bought at the bottom and sold at the top, adding greatly to his inherited wealth and allowing him to create Houghton Hall as seen today.The trial was extremely unpopular with much of the country, causing the Sacheverell riots, and was followed by the downfall of the Duke of Marlborough and the Whig Party in the general election of 1710.The new ministry, under the leadership of the Tory Robert Harley, removed Walpole from his office of Secretary at War but he remained Treasurer of the Navy until 2 January 1711.Robert Walpole became a Privy Councillor and rose to the position of Paymaster of the Forces in a Cabinet nominally led by Lord Halifax, but actually dominated by Lord Townshend (Walpole's brother-in-law) and James Stanhope.Walpole was also appointed chairman of a secret committee formed to investigate the actions of the previous Tory ministry in 1715.

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