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Why did the Liberals win a landslide election in 1906?

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Introduction

Why did the Liberals win a landslide election in 1906? The Conservative Party had been the dominant party in Britain since 1895 and had ruled for just over 10 years before the Party's mighty reign fell at the 1906 General election. The Liberals lead by Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman won a landslide victory over Balfours Conservative Party, which caused a dramatic change in how Britain was ruled. There are many reasons for the Conservatives defeat which evidentially piled up and caused many to change there vote or vote just to keep the Conservatives out of government. Joseph Chamberlain, the secretary of colonies for the Conservative party, left the Conservative party in 1903 due to strong feelings towards Tariff Reform that were not being addressed by Balfour. Britain adopted the system of Free Trade that meant a charge was not put on their goods. Countries such as America, Italy and Germany had adopted protective tariffs, which enabled more industries to develop and flourish. Chamberlain recognised this system to be far more effective and wanted to tax countries on British goods that taxed them, (relatively duties against countries that imposed tariff). ...read more.

Middle

Chamberlain did not feel that tariff reform had been a downfall for the Conservative Party, but this was probably because it was mainly his fault that so many votes were lost. The Lib-Lab pact of 1903 aided the liberals in many aspects. It was a secret negotiation between Herbert Gladstone and Ramsey McDonald, and it was agreed that the Liberals would not oppose LRC candidates in 30 constituencies. These constituencies were not Liberal or Conservative safe seats but marginal constituencies where it was more likely that an LRC member would win. In return the LRC would restrict their number of candidates elsewhere. These two parts of the pact benefited the Liberals as the LRC would take votes from the Conservatives, and the Liberals with out LRC opposition, could dominated more seats. The LRC was a comparatively new Party and it was only recently that the working class had been given the vote and this again helped the Liberals gain more of a votes and the LRC were just not strong enough to contend. ...read more.

Conclusion

Although I implicated that chamberlain was mainly responsible for the unpopularity of the government due to Tariff reform it could be argued it was again Balfours fault. Balfour was Prime Minister and he realised that Chamberlain's policy would be damaging, so he should have acted decisively to prevent this happening. " Tariff Reform did for the Liberals what Home rules had done for the Unionists," claimed Goodland. Basically if Balfour had dealt with Chamberlains style of campaign his party could have united and lost fewer voted to the Liberals.. The Liberals really exploited the weaknesses of the Conservatives and benefited from Balfour s extremely poor leadership. The main reason for the Liberals success was their strength in uniting the Party over a serious issue and not alienating the working class. Balfour s bad judgement continued when he tried to out smart Campbell Bannerman by resigning mid-term, but Campbell Bannerman was not fooled and would not run a minority government so called an election which he won by a landslide. After a while the Conservatives even alienated their traditional supporters, but due to the LRC s efforts they were not strong enough, so the only alternatives were the Liberals. ...read more.

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