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Explain why attitudes towards social reform changed 1880-1906

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Explain why attitudes towards social reform changed 1880-1906 Attitudes towards social reform first began to change in the middle of the nineteenth because novels and paintings by Frances Trollope, Charles Dickens and Ford Maddox Brown began to open the eyes of the middle class that poverty was not caused criminal behaviour. Religious leaders such as Andrew Mearns and William and Catherine Booth showed that the poor were human beings, though even more crucial in changing attitudes were the more scientific studies with a stronger economic basis undertaken by employers Charles Booth and Seebohm Rowntree, who were actually trying to prove that their workers were well treated. They identified exactly who the poor were by developing the concept of the ?Poverty Line?. ...read more.


However it was really only in 1900 when the extent of national deficiency was highlighted by the Boer War that attitudes began to change significantly. For some time, during the 1880s and 1890s, employers had been becoming increasingly concerned with their inability to compete with the production rates of industries in the USA and Germany. The national scandal caused by the poor state of recruits for the Boer War made all classes of people from the riches to the poorest aware of the need for the government to do something if the country was to maintain its military and political status. Thus more and more people began to see poverty in a different life. ...read more.


Moreover the enfranchisement of working people in 1867 and 1884 made even the Conservatives change their attitude toward social reform. In an effort to maintain the support of working people in 1906 they put forward a policy of tariff reform, which they hoped would lead to an expansion of jobs and businesses in Britain, as foreign competition was removed. They planned to use the taxes raised to provide health, education and housing. To combat this, the Liberals continued to support free trade and cheap food imports. The electoral clash of 1906 reflects the way attitudes towards poverty had changed in the previous twenty years. Thus in the long term it was the work of individuals and the enfranchisement of working people that caused the change while in the short term it was fears over national deficiency and rivalry between political parties that changed attitudes towards social reform. ...read more.

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