• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How important was Gladstone to the success of the Liberal Party up to 1865?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

How important was Gladstone to the success of the Liberal Party up to 1865? Naturally, Gladstone made an important contribution to the Liberal Party's maintaining power in his role as the Chancellor of the Exchequer. However, Gladstone was not the only factor that contributed to this success. The weakness of the Conservative Party certainly aided the Liberal Party in that there was no viable alternative to replace it as the ruling party. In addition to this, Palmerston's leadership and popularity is doubtlessly an extremely important part of the Party's success. Finally, the changing social forces of the time added to the popularity of the Liberal Party through such changes as the rise of the provincial press and non-conformism. John Vincent argues that the success of the Liberal Party up to 1865 was due to the changing social forces of the time. The Party had gained a reputation for more industrialist frontbenchers, due to such characters as Cobden and Bright and also its faction of radicals, and was therefore gained popularity with trade unions and the middle and working classes. ...read more.

Middle

Meritocracy was also promoted through such actions as the creation of the Public Accounts Committee. All of these policies were naturally popular with the masses and not only generated support for the Liberal Party but gave it the reputation of being a Party of good financiers and efficient administrators. More support was also generated through Gladstone's misinterpreted 'pale of the constitution' speech and earned him the reputation of the 'People's William'. However, these speeches and policies lost Gladstone the support of the more Conservative and elitist voters and MPs. He also still had his reputation as a promoter of slavery in the 1830s to contend with and was also known as a devoted Anglican, as was made obvious by his 1838 book, though he did later speak against the Ecclesiastical Tithes Bill. Gladstone, therefore, somewhat hindered the accumulation of Abolitionists and non-conformists alike and so overall did not serve as the main contributor to the success of the Liberal Party up to 1865. Though Gladstone was not the most important part of the Liberal Party itself, he certainly weakened the Conservatives through him not joining them. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, his wish to appease the French in the Conspiracy to Murder bill in 1858 most certainly severely knocked his popularity as shown by his defeat over the bill and subsequent resignation. Palmerston's success as a leader is also often attributed to luck as the rising prosperity at the time was not necessarily due to him, this also combined with the natural decline in working class discontent at the time made him seem to be a much more effective leader than he actually was. There can be no debate over the fact that Gladstone had a high proportion of importance in the success of the Liberal Party up to 1865 due to his popularity as a result of his budgets. However, Gladstone's reputation related to slavery and religion was a poor one and impacted somewhat negatively on his party. Superficially, both Palmerston's leadership and the changing social forces of the time seem to be the most important contributions to this success, but these are not as important as the weakness of the Conservatives. Indeed, it is the lack of a viable alternative to the Liberal Party in government that was the main contribution to their success up to 1865. 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level British History: Monarchy & Politics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level British History: Monarchy & Politics essays

  1. Resistance to slavery.

    The Providence Revolt of 1639 This was the first slave revolt to occur in the British West Indies. The revolt was a surprise as there were only about ninety slaves to 500 white on the island at the time. The revolt did not succeed, but it made the British conscious

  2. Was the Liberal party dying before WW1?

    In fact, the Liberals lost 2 MP's in the parliament in the December 190 elections, whilst Labour actually gained seats. The Liberals may have been making inroads into representing a working class party, but were still a long way behind Labour in that department.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work