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

To what extent were the Conservatives responsible for the for the Liberal revival in the years 1902-15?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

TO WHAT EXTENT WERE THE CONSERVATIVES RESPONSIBLE FOR THE FOR THE LIBERAL REVIVAL IN THE YEARS 1902-15? After 1886, with the Gladstone's powers diminishing and electorate disaffection with the Liberals, the Conservatives under Salisbury became the natural party of government. This was due for the most part to Liberal weaknesses, but also due to shrewd political manoeuvring by Salisbury. When Balfour took over Tory leadership in July 1902, though, the Conservative dominance which had existed under his uncle's leadership quickly eroded, and the Liberals swept back to power in January 1906. From then on, the Liberals retained power for nearly 20 years. One interpretation of this Liberal revival is that the Conservatives' own shortcomings allowed the Liberals to regain power - that it was very much a result of negative politics. A second interpretation cites post-Gladstonian New Liberalism's strength as the primary reason for the revival. There are also those who hold the view that the general condition of England allowed New Liberalism to thrive. In truth, while the condition of England remained a constant factor throughout the period, it was the Conservatives' weaknesses which led to Liberal victory in 1906, and Liberal strength which allowed the revival to endure after initial electoral success. ...read more.

Middle

After a crushing defeat in the 1906 elections, Balfour's attempt to use a majority in the House of Lords to veto Liberal reform led to a crisis in which the Liberals pushed through limitations on the House of Lords. Thus, even in opposition, the Conservatives (Balfour in particular) provided issues for the Liberals to deal with, sustaining their progressive momentum. It is clear, unsurprisingly, that there were far more Conservative failings before 1906 than after, and that these undoubtedly contributed to the Liberal revival. However, it is also apparent that the Liberals themselves, again unsurprisingly, had a large hand in exploiting these Conservative failings to the fullest extent. In recognising the Liberal role in exploiting Conservative weaknesses, one comes onto the wider second interpretation: that New Liberalism was the main cause for the Liberal revival at the beginning of the 20th century. One factor which greatly helped the Liberal victory was the steady leadership of Henry Campbell-Bannerman who, despite the political intriguing against him from within the Liberal Party, continued with the business of preparing for government. However, this aside, it was mainly exploitation of Conservative weaknesses which united the Liberals and won over the electorate. ...read more.

Conclusion

It may be most prudent, then, to view the election of January 1906 as a pivotal event in terms of the Liberal revival; for while the Conservatives were greatly responsible for the Liberal revival before the 1906 elections, uniting them in opposition due to numerous failures, the Liberals themselves maintained the revival during their time in power by carrying out numerous social reforms, the first time that any government had provided welfare benefits as a right. That is not to say Liberal strength and Conservative weaknesses did not occur before and after 1906 completely; in particular, Balfour's abuse of the House of Lords allowed the Liberals a great coup in limiting the Lords' power. With the issue of national efficiency both helping the Liberal cause and hindering the Conservatives' through Balfour's indifference to reform, it is clear that the party in government was most responsible for the Liberal revival; the Conservatives coming to the end of their spell in power with the Liberals exploiting the power of negative politics to ascend to power, and then New Liberalism tackling poverty, with the running theme of national efficiency contributing to both sides of the 1906 pivot. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...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. Marked by a teacher

    The Liberal Reforms (1906-1914)

    4 star(s)

    Also, it was a contributory scheme, so the worker had to pay money into the scheme whilst in employment in order to benefit when unemployed. Some workers objected to paying the National Insurance contributions. The chant "Taffy was a Welshman, Taffy was a thief" was chanted at Lloyd George by

  2. 'It was not the liberals who won but the conservatives who lost' discuss

    due to industrialisation; this meant there was a big need for well organised sanitary conditions, however the governments original view was 'laissez-faire'; the belief it was not their business and therefore poverty and unkempt conditions had spread. 'More than one-fourth of the population are living in poverty ...

  1. 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.

  2. To what extent could the Liberal reforms of 1906-1914 be described as a radical ...

    'If Britain was to compete and maintain its position as a world power, then it had to be run efficiently. This theory supported the belief that healthy, well-educated workforce was essential.'

  1. Why In The Years 1906-1911 Did The Liberal Government Embark On An Extensive Programme ...

    The government's failure to take any action to rectify the situation cost the party votes. Labour and Liberal political candidates immediately made the link between the 'Chinese slavery' and the Taff Vale Case of 1901; the Conservatives did not over turn a ruling preventing the trade unions from initiating strike action.

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

    You can see here that Balfour didn't really take control of his party, and made poor decisions and actions. This can be backed up by looking at what Goodlad said, 'The chosen approach of the Party Leader ensured the worst possible outcome'.

  1. Wives & War: To what extent did these two aspects undermine Henry VIIIs rule ...

    For obvious reasons of the short amount of time there is most definitely room for different perspectives to argue or follow on from this investigation, such recommendations would be to visit archives which contain primary and reliable sources of information.

  2. To what extent were the welfare reforms of the Liberal governments between 1906 and ...

    As well as fear of the Labour party, many politicians feared the growth of socialism ? there was over 40 million hours lose to strike action in 1912 ? and Roy Hay argues this was the main reason for the passing of reform; the government was desperate to prevent a

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