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The Reasons For The Liberal Election Victory Of 1906

1763 words - 7 pages

The Reasons for the Liberal Election Victory of 1906

The Liberal election victory of 1906 was due to key issues that the
Liberals manipulated to their favour whereas the exhausted
Conservatives barely defended their actions. This election victory was
on the back of Unionist dominance that had spanned a decade driven by
three key issues: "the crown, the church and the constitution." After
the Second Boer War in South Africa, everything began to go wrong for
the Unionists who then found their own leader, Balfour, losing his
seat in his own constituency of Blackpool.

The key areas of victory are the Tory blunders and the Liberal
successes. The decline of the Unionists seemed to begin after the 1900
Khaki election when things began to go wrong in South Africa.
Guerrilla Warfare began, and for a while, the sure victory appeared to
become a long, hard struggle. This raised questions within Britain at
the army's strength and the countries health. Firstly, "22,000" were
killed in South Africa and this raised questions about the army's
competence as they resorted to "Scorched Earth and concentration
camps" which raised ethical questions in Britain. Secondly the army
rejected "34.6%" of volunteers which also suspected the health of
Britain's youth as it would be them who would have to fight in the
future. This coincided with the studies of Rowntree and Booth, who
concluded Britain was poor and becoming poorer. As a result, people
would think that Britain was not as secure under the Unionists as it
could be under the Liberals and this would be a reason for their
election loss. It can be seen that the Unionists won the 1900 election
mainly due to successes in South Africa and now as things weren't
going as smoothly for them they had planned, people were starting see
them in a different light. The public would now see the Unionist
government as not being able to cope with the situation in South
Africa and therefore they would think that they wouldn't be able to
cope with the situation at home.

Combined with this was the strength of the Liberal party. In these
'difficult' times, the Liberals readily attacked the Unionists and it
appeared to the British public that they had the moral high ground. It
was Campbell Bannerman and Lloyd George especially who attacked the
Unionists on every issue that they were weak on and the Boer War was a
good example of this. They were excellent campaigners and orators.
Lloyd George, as it can be seen on the video, was good at rallying
crowds and was good at gaining supports in key areas such as
Lincolnshire and London, where their votes increased dramatically up
to 15%. The Liberals were very well organized. Instead of trying to
get a huge majority in already Liberal strongholds they expanded out
to areas where they were weaker. The British public would be...

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