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

How important was the Boer War in the Liberal election victory of 1906?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

´╗┐How important was the Boer War in the Liberal election victory of 1906? It is often said in politics that governments lose elections rather than oppositions win them. In 1906 this was the case. There were many factors which came together and contributed to the liberal win in that year. These included the conduct of the Boer War, the introduction of Tariff Reforms by Joseph Chamberlain, Balfour's poor leadership style and the 1902 Education and 1904 Licensing Acts. The Liberals were also more in tune with the public mood with their beliefs in free trade and social reform. Issues such as: concerns over Chinese Labour; the Taff Vale Case had also enflamed public opposition towards the current government. The Boer War both in its conduct and in the underlying weaknesses it exposed of the British Empire contributed to this Liberal victory, however, what was more important was that the country wanted to replace a complacent government plus there was a general mood that it was ?time for a change?. ...read more.

Middle

The Lib-Lab pact further enhanced the Liberals prospects in 1906. There was several other factors which when combined had a major impact on the result of the 1906 general election. The first one was the quality of the leadership of both parties. Both Arthur Balfour, the leader of the Conservatives and Henry Campbell-Bannerman, leader of the Liberals cannot be considered as leaders of the first rank. Balfour who succeeded Lord Salisbury (who had been the dominant Conservative leader of his time) in 1902 on the former prime minister?s death had not in the intervening years shown himself as a capable leader. He failed to foresee problems like that of Chinese Labour and the Taff Vale case, he was indecisive on Tariff reform allowing Chamberlain too much latitude. He was heavily associated with the Education Act a most unpopular policy. Finally, he was responsible for the timing of the election and could have waited for another two years. Meanwhile, his opponent Campbell-Bannerman who was by no means a superstar had three very able lieutenants: Asquith, Lloyd George and Winston Churchill. ...read more.

Conclusion

Finally, though the election was not fought on the issue of social reform, the issue of poverty in Britain in the early 1900s had come to the fore. The Boer War had exposed the amount of malnutrition, especially in the cities and led to concerns about the physical decline of the British race. Conservatives failed to address this problem in any significant way, whilst Liberals were working on a new form of Liberalism which would seek to tackle this problem. In conclusion, in the years before the 1906 general election, the Conservatives lacking leadership and direction managed to alienate large sections of the electorate. The Liberals were able to fight an essentially negative campaign exploiting Conservative policy errors. It also helped that the liberal party was united post Boer War. The Boer War certainly played a large part in the politics of this period. It helped the Liberals in many ways but the Conservatives were mainly the authors of their own misfortunes and it was these rather than the Boer War that had a decisive impact which enabled a Liberal victory. ...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. Why did Labour win the 1945 election and lose in the 1951 election?

    The campaign is all too often seen as the most important factor in Labour's "landslide" victory in 1945, however it is of less importance than the war or their policies, for example. Indeed, Robert Pearce claims "it seems very unlikely indeed that the campaign was crucial".

  2. Why did the Liberals win and the Conservatives lose the 1906 Election?

    discover the reasons why the election results turned out the way they did. Tariff Reform, introduced by Joseph Chamberlain, stated that a tax should be put on imported food outside of the empire, therefore raising more money for the government.

  1. Resistance to slavery.

    Class Division & Terrible slave conditions in St Dominique The population of St Domingue in 1789 was made up of 35,000 Whites, 25,000 Mulattoes and 450,000 slaves. The whites were not a united group. At the top were the very rich planters.

  2. Account for the crushing defeat of the Conservatives in the general election of 1906

    Some Liberals were already working on a new form of liberalism in which the State would play a greater role in ensuring minimum living standards for the most vulnerable. In addition to this, the Conservatives education act of 1902 displeased the Non Conformists, Christians who were neither Church of England nor Catholic.

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