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Explain Why The Unionists Won The 'Khaki' Election Of 1900

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Explain Why The Unionists Won The 'Khaki' Election Of 1900 The Unionist victory in 1900 was basically due to Unionist strength against Liberal incompetence. In September of 1900, Salisbury decided to dissolve Parliament to hold a general election. This was a tactical move, as the government had a majority of 120 and two years left on their current term in office. This is due to the "Septennial Act, which laid down a maximum life of seven years for a Parliament." (Addison) This tactical move by Salisbury was cleverly calculated to occur at the same time as Britain seemed to be doing best in the Second Boer War. As a result, they capitalized on Liberal weakness and apparent Unionist strength to hold office until January 1906. ...read more.


Combined with this, there is the ineptitude of the Liberal party. The Unionists were currently "united by war" whereas the Liberals were badly divided by it. The Liberals were split three ways into: opponents of the war, Liberal Imperialists and a Centre majority, who accepted the war but felt the Government was too harsh. This would have caused leadership problems and the party would not have been united enough to fight an election campaign. Churchill declared that the Liberal party were "a squabbling, disorganized rabble." This can best be shown by the Pretoria letters which were sent by Liberal figures to wish the British good luck in the war, contrary to the party's beliefs. ...read more.


His comment on the vote for the Liberals shows this. Addison is keen to suggest that Chamberlain was proclaimed as the man that won the election due to his work being integral to the Unionist success. This evidence further reinforces the idea that the Unionists were more dominant than all of the other opposition and therefore deserved to win the election Overall, the election was decisive success for the Unionists. This was due to the fact that they had capitalized on poor organization of the Liberals, foreign successes in the Boers and excellent leadership and campaigning by Salisbury and Chamberlain. They had previous credibility like Hicks and Salisbury from the last election to further enhance their chances but overall these factors proved to be the difference between a Unionist victory and a Liberal defeat. Rob Allen 12THG Page 1 09/05/07 ...read more.

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