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

Was New Liberalism the most important factor behind the Liberal Government's welfare reforms in the years 1906-14? Explain your answer.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Was New Liberalism the most important factor behind the Liberal Government's welfare reforms in the years 1906-14? Explain your answer. New Liberalism was the expansion of changing attitudes in society at the beginning of the 20th Century, adopted by the younger generation of the Liberal party. In contrast to Old Liberalism, New Liberalism proposed the abandonment of the government's previous 'laissez-faire' attitude for a more involved government and a better relationship between the state and its people. By taking measures to improve the social conditions in which the people lived and worked, the Liberals believed that they could create a workforce more unified in its actions and more efficient in its tasks, providing ample opportunity to improve other important features of society, for example the economy. Of course for any improvements to be made to social conditions, a significant amount of legislation had to be passed, the main focus of which at this point was to enable the redistribution of wealth. As with any new initiative, there was a substantial amount of opposition, not only from the Conservatives but also from the older more traditional 'Gladstonian' Liberals. These groups thought it was best for government to intervene as little as possible in state affairs, especially in the economy; this view was also shared by many upper and middle class people. ...read more.

Middle

The poor themselves had a very proud attitude: they felt ashamed that they could not care for their families and did not want to receive relief of any kind, as this usually meant going to the workhouse. The real causes of poverty were the irregular wages and the insecurity of tenure, meaning people often moved to towns seeking daily work at places such as the dockyards. Since the beginning of the century, peoples' attitudes towards poverty had begun to change for the better. The investigations led by people such as Rowntree and Booth exposed the true nature and causes of poverty. Rowntree's 'A Study of a Town' alone showed that 'from 25 to 30 per cent of the town populations of the United Kingdom are living in poverty'. This increased sympathy towards the poor from the upper and middle classes; the problem of poverty could no longer be ignored. It was clear to the Liberal government that the Poor Law would have to be re-evaluated and the workhouses completely abolished. It was mainly the New Liberals that saw the need for social security and 'freedom for all', but it was clear to the entire party that the working classes had to be kept on side. ...read more.

Conclusion

be in prime condition to be called upon as a fighting force when needed; in no time Britain would be heading the industrial front again. Moreover, these reforms would pay for themselves and allow excess wealth to be spent on re-armament - an important factor when considering the increasing probability of European warfare. It was the confluence of these social, economic and political factors that meant that the Liberals had no choice but to implement social reform. For the Liberals, the beginning was really the Old Age pensions act which was enacted in 1908. The People's budget of 1909 and the subsequent constitutional crisis of 1911 only helped to further Liberalist aims, influencing reforms dealing with the sick, infirm, unemployed, widowed and children. Though some of the reasons for enacting these policies were selfish, sometimes superficial and made for political expediency, many of these reforms did a lot of good and were the beginnings of what is now the welfare state. Lloyd George himself said 'No country can be called civilised that allows them [orphans] to starve'. The New Liberalism ideal of a fairer and more secure state was all but achieved. However, it was only one of many aspects influencing the government's eventual decision. 1,249 ?? ?? ?? ?? Edijana Obiakpani-Guest Mrs. Roberts ...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)

    Due to the reluctance of the Treasury to pay for the setup and administration of a contributory pension scheme, Asquith decided upon a scheme financed out of taxation. When it was calculated that the cost of state pensions at 65 would be �17 million per annum, the Treasury set an

  2. The British reforms to change India failed because the British would sometimes use force ...

    The Governor of each Indian province was to appoint an Executive Council which would have to be responsible to the Legislative Council and would be elected by a popular vote. However the provincial government of each province would be led by both Indians and British ministers.

  1. How successfully did the Liberal Reforms 1906-14 meet the social needs of the British ...

    This further improved the lives of many children, meaning less were suffering from poor health through fault of their parents. Despite these reforms, T. Ferguson states that 55% of children still were not receiving treatment for illnesses and many others had treatment that was inadequate.

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

    Murray illustrates this view in his work: 'The social reforms of the pre-war Liberal government had no opportunity to make a major dent in the extent of poverty before the Great War, but there is some evidence to suggest that they began to make a difference in the long term.'

  1. Why did the Liberals introduce major social reforms from 1906 to 1911 and how ...

    The view is that many workers would have been suspicious and hostile towards increased state involvement, owing mainly to existing institutions such as the hated Poor Law (Hay, 1975, p26). The demand for social reform was coming mainly from organised and politically involved groups whose key aims were not particularly

  2. Free essay

    Liberal reforms

    However, the act showed some weakness as the scheme was only granted to over 70's and terms and conditions applied, which were very harsh. So the act helped ease stress and anxiety but wasn't very successful in the long run.

  1. How successful were the Labour Government reforms of 1945-51 in improving social and economic ...

    America had a reduced demand for British exports which produced another balance of payments crisis. So the sharp devaluation of the pound (from $4.03 to $2.8) made British exports to America considerably cheaper so reduced the trade deficit between exports and imports, even though it was a blow to the British prestige.

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

    As well as the actual defence of the country, both politicians and businessmen were concerned that Britain?s economy would start to lag behind the rest of the worlds, especially Germany and the US if something was not done about the unfit and poorly educated work force.

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