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The Contributions Of William Gladstone Essay

1443 words - 6 pages

Every country has a leader who helps change the country and the world. William was that leader in Great Britain. Born in 1809 to a self-made Scottish merchant, which taught him to help the average person; he entered the politics at the age of 22 in 1833 where he was a “tireless administrator” with “tremendous eye for detail” (Wilson 112). At first a very strong Tory, who felt that any electoral reform would lead to revolution, he became one of the founding members of the Liberal Party in 1859. He would later say that “I was brought up to distrust and to dislike liberty, and I learned to believe in it. That is the key to all my change” (Wilson 102). As Prime Minister and leader of the Opposition for many years he “was the standard bearer [and champion of many reforms], and his gov from 1868 to 1874 was one of the foremost reforming administrations of the century” (Tompson 287). His ability “to manage big crowds and to use the power of the crowd as an extra-parliamentary weapon” (Wilson) allowed him to push tough legislation through Parliament and “his sheer bigness, and grandeur, and moral weightiness was never to be repeated on the political scene” (Wilson 118, 103). William Gladstone was a British statesman whose reforms had a greater influence than Queen Victoria.
With the era named after Queen Victoria, many people believe that Queen Victoria was the most important person of this age. The Queen wasn’t popular until later in life. People hated her for her refusal to come out of mourning after the death of her husband and her unenlightened political views. The royal pair had an active role together until 1861 where she went into prolonged sadness and never made public appearances. She emerged 1870s to a much-diminished role in gov which was mostly ceremonial. Her powers were a shadow of the previous kings, including the profligacy of George IV and ungovernable madness of his father (Olechnowicz 163). She couldn’t control elections or parliament and her only “power” was to control her numerous relatives, who ruled more autocratic governments across Europe. The Queen would also take sides on issues and micromanagement the Prime Minister and other key officers. She didn’t maintain neutrality on issues as dictated by the British “constitution”. “The Queen had to be appeased, certainly, but she did not guide policy and certainly could not impose one" (Olechnowicz 181). By the 1880s it would haven't been hard to destroy the monarchy but Gladstone’s personal devotion to the monarchy saved the monarchy, even though she hated him.
Gladstone was forever innovating. His Midlothian campaign changed the face of British politics. Gladstone “introduced a new style of campaigning, making speaking tours and using an electoral platform to focus voters’ attention” (Thompson 63). When parliament would not pass his bills, Gladstone went to the people to ignite support. This idea was unheard of at that time and established Gladstone celebrity status as the...

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