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Conservatism Vs. Liberalism Between 1886 And 1906.

1160 words - 5 pages

In the following essay I will consider the two questions; why were the liberals out of power for so much of the period 1886-1906 and how do historians explain Conservative success in the period 1886-1906.At first glance it seems a simple answer why the liberals were out of power for all but 3 years (as a minority government) out of 20, the simple answer is that the liberal party was weakened, seemingly beyond repair when in 1886 ninety-three liberal MP's left the liberal party and formed their own party the Liberal Unionists over the issue of home rule. This group was made up of two very different sections of the liberal party, seventy of the group where Whigs- the old aristocracy of the Liberal party and the most 'right' of the liberal party under Lord Harrington, and the other twenty-three where radicals under the leadership of Joseph Chamberlain. The split as I stated before was over Gladstone's Home Rule Bill, which basically was giving Ireland the right to what we now know today as devolution. The Whigs voted against this, as they didn't want Ireland to have its own government where as Chamberlain and his supporters who where in favour of Home Rule voted against it because in the Bill it was written that no Irish MP's would be part of Westminster and Chamberlain feared that this would lead to Ireland breaking from the Empire. Thus the two groups where united on this most important issue within the Liberal party.With the split in the Liberal Party Gladstone's government fell and was replaced by a Conservative one. This process was helped by the fact that the conservatives didn't put candidates against any Liberal Unionists so that they would be re-elected and be able to vote with the Conservatives.The year before the split in the Liberals a Bill was passed that changed the way elections where going to be held forever. The re-distribution of seats act meant that there would be no more multi seat constituencies only one seat constituencies which meant that the multi constituencies had to split up and this favoured the Conservatives as there main strength was with the richer electorate and the richer population of a city tended to clump together so they therefore formed the majority in the constituency and so the Conservatives where able to receive an MP where they would not of had one before. This was called Villa Toryism.Benjamin Disraeli started the reinvention of the Conservative party that was called 'Tory Democracy'. This was started during the period of 1846-1886 when the Conservative party had only won one overall majority government. This made the Party much more popular with the middle classes and the working class. They helped to introduce working reforms that included giving workers a half-day on Sunday (which made football take off) health acts and the artisan act, which allowed cities and towns to pull down slums.The development of a so-called 'Professional Party' helped the Conservatives a lot as well in these 20 years as they...

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