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The Liberals did not win the 1906 election the Unionists lost it. How far do you agree?

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The Liberals did not win the 1906 election the Unionists lost it. How far do you agree? There were many factors behind the massive Liberal victory of 1906, but many of these were in fact Unionist weaknesses. There are four main theories for how the Liberals came to a win: the Boer War, the 1902 Education Act, the tariff reform campaign and also because of Balfour himself as leader of the Unionists. Each of these theories bought wide appeal to the Liberals and made the Unionists look bad. Up until 1906 the Unionists were in power, they were lead by Lord Salisbury and were seen as a 'new look' party. Although the Unionist leadership remained predominantly aristocratic, it gained support from middle classes as well as appealing to the working class. At this time the Liberals were weak, they had electoral weaknesses, leadership weaknesses as Gladstone resigned in March 1894 and Rosebury took over lead. Also because of the Home Rule crisis of 1886, some Liberals went as far as to join the Unionists. ...read more.


Campbell-Bannerman took over Lord Rosebury as Liberal leader in 1905 and re-united the Liberals; this shows that the Liberals themselves can take some responsibility for their own win. After the Boer War, with the Unionists losing support, it left the Liberals open and in a great position to pose new ideas. In 1902, the Unionists passed Morant's Education Act. The Liberals traditionally gained support from protestants who do not belong to Church of England - the Education Act disgusted Liberal Unionists who supported the Liberal beliefs of school, because it allowed the schools to be funded by the rates. If the Liberal Unionists lived in an area where there was a Church of England or a Catholic school, the rates that they paid would go towards it because of the Education Act. The Liberal Unionists, who left the Liberals over Home Rule crisis (approximately 100), ended up returning back to the newly formed Liberals because of the Unionists stupid actions. This left the Unionists seriously damaged and strengthened the Liberals significantly. ...read more.


This was almost a way of fixing the votes, but it helped towards the Liberal win in the 1906 election by a vast majority: Liberals: 401mp's Unionists: 157mp's Irish nationalists: 83mp's Labour: 29mp's The Liberal victory in 1906 was seen as a major turnaround. The reasons for this are that the Boer War transformed the political climate in Britain and encouraged the launch of the Tariff Reform campaign in attempt to raise money to cover the repercussions, but all it did was revive the Liberals. The tariff reform split the Unionist alliance, damaging the image of the government and lost some support of the voters. The Education act was also a stupid move by the Unionists, because it united the Liberals and made them politically weaker. Also Balfour was responsible for the Liberal victory because he alienated voters from the unionists and made the Liberals stronger because of his miscalculations. In answer to the question, I agree that the Unionists lost the election and won the election for the Liberals in 1906, because the Unionists made terrible mistakes; but it must be said that the Liberals did add towards their own victory. ...read more.

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