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

The Liberal election victory of 1906 was a result of division in the conservative party and nothing else - discussed

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

'The Liberal election victory of 1906 was a result of division in the conservative party and nothing else' The Liberals won a 'landslide' election victory in 1906. It is claimed that the loss of power for the Conservatives was largely due to a decline in fortunes as the party split due to issues over tariff reforms. On the other hand it is assumed that the loss was due to the complacency and the neglect of Workingmen's Interests. Arthur James Balfour had become the Conservative leader in the House of Commons and served (1891-92, 1895-1903) as the first Lord of the treasury. He had succeeded his uncle as Prime minister in 1902. A huge task lay ahead of Balfour, as poverty was to be a focal point at the beginning of the 20th century. Although it is reputed that Balfour was able, he was also witty. Lacking clear commitment in any particular direction could prove a major flaw, for both him and his political party. His principal concerns were education and defence. There was, he believed, 'no more serious waste than the waste of brains and intellect'. Misfortunes of the Conservative party noticeably outweighed the party's fortunes. A key political issue at the time was poverty. ...read more.

Middle

This was suitable during the period in which Britain was the leading industrial nation, but as competition with other countries intensified it was to the detriment of British manufacturers and farmers. The problem needed to be solved. There were efforts by Lord Churchill to implement further domestic reforms in the tradition of Tory democracy were unsuccessful, but the popular imperialist emphasis remained. In this period the party was gradually drawing closer to business class interests, but the insistence of Joseph Chamberlain on a pro-empire tariff reform split the party. He proposed that a protectionist tariffs needed to be introduced as it would protect British industry (i.e. industrialists and farmers). He also wanted to make possible a system of imperial preference, which was to the determent of most of the cabinet. The programme was strongly opposed by a small group of free traders. More seriously, working class fears that duties on food imports would raise the cost of living made it an electoral liability. The internal divisions caused a purge of the cabinet in 1903 and did much to cause three consecutive electoral defeats. The tariff reform campaign, which was launched in 1903, resulted in Chamberlain resigning and setting up a splinter group known as the tariff reform league. ...read more.

Conclusion

When the Lords blocked his policies he laid plans to curb their power. He also supported women's suffrage and introduced the Old age pension. Overall, it can be argued that the split in the Conservative party was to blame for the Liberal 'landslide' victory of 1906 however I feel that there are many other factors that played its part. Although the division of the Conservative party lacked the unity of the Liberals, it was difficult to point out to any Tory reform which was specifically intended to offer benefits of the working class and there is hardly any evidence that the Conservatives had genuinely succeeded in widening their power base. The post-Victorian era and the turn of the century gave a new dimension to politics. The voices of the working class had to be heard. The Conservatives were unprepared for 20th century Politics and were defeated for good reasons but largely over the wrong issues. The Tory's were vulnerable to the emergence of a new party with a broader appeal to the working-class vote than its own. The general election loss of 1906 wasn't due to the split of the Conservative party but rather complacency and neglect of working men's interests. Many Conservatives attributed the 1906 defeat to the natural swing of the electoral pendulum after ten years of Conservative government. The idea was 'the turn' of the Liberals to win. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE 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 GCSE Politics essays

  1. Is Britain a two-party or a multi party system, or something else?

    Though Webb states that this doesn't mean that post-1945 the main parties lack distinctive ideologies, and that centripetal patterns shift with time (a notable example during the mid-1980s), he asserts that "parties departing from the logic or centripetal competition are met with electoral disappointment and have eventually sought a return

  2. Why the Labour Party overtook the Liberal Party

    This demonstrates the fact that the party still had a way to go before it appealed to all sections of the population, but this weakness was overshadowed by the dramatic gains made in industrial regions in 1922. It was no longer a relatively ineffective and insecurely based force - the

  1. The Impact of Electoral Design on the Legislature.

    The Supplementary Vote (SV) For more information about the Supplementary Vote: * A New Voting System: Electing the Mayor (and the London Assembly) How the System works: With the supplementary vote, there are two columns on the ballot paper - one for the first choice and one for the second choice.

  2. "Recent general election results have shown the need for electoral reform." Discuss.

    parties have to compromise policies to form a coalition. The Additional Member System is used in Germany. Supporters claim that it uses the best features from majority systems and plurality systems. The Voter gets two votes, one for a constituency candidate and one for a party.

  1. Did Gladstone Unite or Divide the Liberals?

    In practical terms Gladstone was a firm supporter of free trade for the whole of his life political life. Alongside this was his dislike of government interference in the lives of its citizens. As a result, Gladstone supported retrenchment thereby lowering taxation.

  2. The Conservative Party

    * Anti welfare. Principally they place a strong emphasis on the individual and are against welfare. * Anti trade union. Trade unions tend to give too much power to workers and are a distortion of the market. * Traditional moral values.

  1. The rise of Fascism in Italy was the result of a conservative reaction to ...

    He recognized the right of workers to strike for higher wages, changes in the electoral law greatly increased the male suffrage, Roman Catholics were introduced into political life and the first major legislation on behalf of the economically depressed south was passed.

  2. Why did the Conservative Party split in 1846? - Ed Pearson When Peel announced ...

    The sheer unpopularity of the act can be seen through the 3000 petitions that Peel received against the act, most of which came from his own party. The disgruntlement of the right wing of the party was made worse by the fact that Peel had refused to grant money on

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