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"Simply a response to the growth of the Labour Movement". How adequate is this explanation for the social reforms of the Liberal Government 1906 - 1914?

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Introduction

The Reasons for Social Reforms 1906-1914 "Simply a response to the growth of the Labour Movement". How adequate is this explanation for the social reforms of the Liberal Government 1906 - 1914? The noise in the factory is unbearable: the constant whirring of hundreds of sowing machines drowns out the voices of chatty women sitting in long lines on the cold bare floor. It's 8pm and Katy has been working for twelve hours now. She has a smile on her face, however, soon her day will be over and she will be able to have a brief sleep before the factory opens in the morning. Katy is dressed in drab brown clothes, there is patch missing on the left elbow and they aren't really warm enough for this time of the year. Katy draws her cloak around her to try and keep warm in the snow and hurries into her house. ...read more.

Middle

But this was not the only reason for social reforms... In 1906 the Liberals won the elections in a landslide victory. Unfortunately in 1908 a split arose in the party and a new generation of leaders stepped in to assume control. This group, headed by H. Asquith, were a lot more pro-collectivism (collectivism is basically the opposite of laissez-faire - tax the rich to feed the poor). The group realised they had moral obligations to fulfil, it also realised that helping the poor would keep them in power. This was the main reason that the social reforms take place, and probably the main reason we have the NHS today. It is generally agreed upon by historians that the new leaders were the catalyst in social reforms although not the reason. Other influential individuals in the push for social reforms came from outwith the Liberal Party. Charles Booth and Seebohm Rowntree both carried out detailed investigations into poverty in the UK. ...read more.

Conclusion

The Liberals saw this and decided to try out the social welfare state for themselves. The social welfare system in the UK was installed because of a number of factors: The main reason for the introduction of the welfare system was the growth of the Labour Party. The poor were effectively bribed into voting for the Liberals. The Boer War was also important in the decision, it came as a shock that the UK was in danger of losing it's status as a military superpower. Rowntree and Booth also brought the poverty of the county to the eyes of the middle classes, the Liberal's had to appear to be a caring party. The last factor in the process was that something just clicked in the minds of the Party leaders; they realised that they were there to help, they had the power to help, why not help? "Simply a response to the growth of the Labour Movement" is not an adequate explanation for the social reforms of 1906-1914 although it was most probably the deciding factor. ...read more.

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