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

Why did the Liberals win a landslide victory in the 1906 elcections?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Why did the Liberals win a landslide victory in the 1906 election? The general election of 1906 produced a remarkable transformation of the political scene in Britain. An era of Conservative domination ended, and what turned out to be a period of Liberal reform began. It has been described as the first 'landslide' victory of the 20th century. In December 1905, the Conservatives were in power but faced mounting criticism and a downturn in trade. The Conservative Prime Minister, A.J Balfour, did something unusual. Rather than call a general election he decided to simply announce his party's resignation from government. As a result, a Liberal government took over and in January 1906 the Liberals, under Campbell Bannerman, called a general election. Not only did the Liberals win a majority, they won a huge overall majority in the election with around 400 seats against 157 seats for the Conservatives. There were many reasons for this stunning reversal of political fortunes, not only in the leadership of the two main parties but also in the impact of recent events and political developments. ...read more.

Middle

The Conservatives also lost support because of their failure to take the part of the trade unions over the Taff Vale case. In 1901, a dispute had broken out in Wales between the Taff Vale rail company and the railway workers' trade union to court, demanding compensation for loss of profits during the strike. In 1902, the House of Lords ruled that a company was within its rights to sue a trade union. The trade unions were outraged, because this made it almost impossible fir them to call successful strikes. Only an Act of Parliament could over rule a Lord's judgement and the Conservatives refused to introduce such legalisation. This encouraged the trade unions support for the idea of a labour group in parliament and for campaigning against the Conservatives in the election. However the biggest Conservative misjudgement came over Tariff Reforms. In 1903, the tariff reform campaign was launched in Birmingham by Joseph Chamberlain. ...read more.

Conclusion

The Liberals were also united behind a banner of Free Trade. During the electoral campaign in 1906, the Liberals exploited this commitment. Free Trade was a 'bread and butter' issue of great concern to voters in all classes. In conclusion, The Liberals were able to exploit Conservative mistakes in regard to the trade unions, by promising to ensure trade unions could not be sued for striking (Trade Disputes Act 1906). They could also win nonconformist votes by exploiting Conservative misjudgement over education and licensing, as well as by promising Welsh Disestablishment. Irish voters in Britain were more likely to vote Liberal due to their support for Home Rule rather than the anti-home rule Conservatives. For these reasons Liberals attracted votes from people who were dissatisfied with the Conservative government and instead looked to the best alternative, which at the time were the Liberals. So although it could be said that the Conservatives effectively 'threw away' votes, the Liberal party did well to offer a better alternative and win by a landslide. DOM ANSELL ?? ?? ?? ?? 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. Marked by a teacher

    Why did the Liberals win the General Election of 1906?

    3 star(s)

    The wounds seemed to have a much larger impact than the benefits. This would have led to decline in votes and a significant factor contributing to the Liberal victory in the 1906 Election.

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

    Although he was a highly intelligent man, the public believed that he was not sensitive to their needs. Balfour piloted the 1902 education bill and received the wrath of the non conformist. He also failed to see the anger that the 'Chinese Slavery' and the Taff Vale issues would cause amongst British working men.

  1. Why did Labour win the 1945 election and lose in the 1951 election?

    Britain's economic resources were being drained from all directions; Foreign Policy, Nationalisation, Welfare and Austerity. This was at a time when the economy could least handle it, and Labour was blamed by a weary public in 1951. In 1945 the Conservatives had suffered from being divided and disorganised, while Labour had been strong and united.

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

    This, clearly, was the to be the main reason as to why the liberals won the 1906 election, as is backed up Blewett, 'Conservatives began to lose by-elections after 1902, purely down to the 1902 Education Act'. Tariff Reform is a further reason that we must look at to fully

  1. Sir Winston Churchill

    In 1951, Winston Churchill became Prime Minister again. He resigned in 1955. During this time, the government was overshadowed by a series of foreign policy crises. These were caused because of the continuous decline of the British Military and imperial prestige and power. Winston also devoted much of his time in office to British-American relations.

  2. To what extent is it fair to conclude that it was Conservative/Unionist failings that ...

    Thus, defense of the empire was required in order to make Britain more competitive and Chamberlain was particularly devoted tot this. It has to be said that it was the combination of Chamberlain's response and Balfour letting him enact his response that became a major reason behind the conservative defeat in the 1906 elections.

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

    It was these three who after Bannerman?s death in 1908 who took the Liberal party to great heights. The second factor concerned two acts of Parliament which offended non-conformists opinion and helped them return their support to the Liberal party after divisions over Home Rule for Ireland, this helped to revive the Liberal party.

  2. How far did luck play a part in Margaret Thatchers leadership election victory of ...

    Thatcher obviously had to distinguish herself in one way or another. John Charmley follows this line of argument, and focuses on the bravery of Thatcher- her decision to risk the consignment of her career to the scrapheap and to force a leadership contest had been ?extremely courageous?[2], and the manner

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