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New Liberalism in Britain 1909 emerged as a result of a combination of ideological and political factors

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Bethan Moorcroft 'New Liberalism emerged as a result of a combination of ideological and political factors.' Discuss. In the early 20th century the ideology of the Liberal Party in England was changing dramatically. This change was from 'Old' or 'Classical' Liberalism to 'New', transforming and altering certain aims and laws from before. This came about from various reasons; all implying that Old Liberalism needed a refurbishment. The Classical view promoted minimum state intervention in people's lives, business and trade as a priority and low taxation. New Liberalism was, in a way, the opposite of this view. This encouraged an increased state intervention, but only when it was essential as it did not want the country to be ran as a 'nanny-state'. The priority had changed- the community and society was now the main aim, not trade and business. Finally, taxation was increased to be used for reforms and assistance for the less wealthy citizens. In this essay I am going to bring forward both the ideological and political reasons that led to the evolution of the Liberal Party. ...read more.


The findings that some people were so poor that self-help would never lift them out of poverty shocked many Liberals and encouraged them to question their values. Reforms and assistance became a 'must-have' in the running of the country, and so increased state intervention seemed an attractive new method. The change in the Liberal Party ideology also came about as a response to changing political factors. A new political climate was emerging as after the 1880's socialist ideas were becoming more popular. This meant that the liberal Party needed to devise new ways to attract this support. The ideology needed to be edited in order to gain support (especially from the working class) in elections. As well as 'physical efficiency', 'national efficiency' also created a change in ideas. This phrase means that the country has a strong economy. At this time, it was feared that Britain's economic position as a world power was in decline. This caused a need to look at the workforces in the country. ...read more.


However, the changes did not completely destroy the original values of Classical Liberalism. It needs to be remembered that these changes were within a party and so similarities would still be present. Both Old and New Liberalism agreed on a class-based society-meritocracy. The only difference was that New Liberalism recognised that if obstacles are in the way of someone being successful, it should be the government's duty to help the situation. Both forms preferred for the social services to be paid for by voluntary contributions rather than that raised by the state, however, New Liberalism did see that it was necessary in some circumstances. A belief was shared in that there was 'deserving' and 'undeserving' poor people, New Liberalism did not dismiss this fact. And finally, they were both united in wanting people to better themselves and move up the class systems in society. The evolution of the Liberal Party was not due to one single factor that transformed the ideology of the party and its members. The combination of all the factors explored contributed to the development of the New Liberal ideas and values and changed the traditional views for the better. ...read more.

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