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

Was the Liberal Party Dying Before World War I?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Was the Liberal party dying before World War I? The issue of whether the Liberal party was dying before World War I has raised many debates among historians. The word 'dying' is referred not to temporary electoral losses but to permanent exclusion of the Liberal party as the main left wing political party in Britain. One early view, expressed by Pelling, is that there was an air of inevitability about Labour replacing the Liberals as the major political force opposing the Conservatives chiefly because its rise coincided with a general rise in the labour movement and the working class found voice to their views in Labour leaders like Arthur Henderson, Sidney Webb and Ramsay McDonald. A revised view was put forward in the 1930s mainly by Liberal historians like J A Spender and Ramsay Muir which suggested that it was the factions among the Liberals created by many issues like the controversy over Ireland, the suffragist movement, rise in trade union militancy, struggle with the House of Lords and disagreements between their leaders Asquith and Lloyd George that tore them apart and they were not likely to fall at all without them. They argue that before World War I in all the general elections that took place Labour increased their seats but this ...read more.

Middle

came bottom of the poll in terms of proportion of votes received. Labour had increased its number of councillors but that could be argued was a 'protest vote' from a temporarily dissatisfied public. Trade unions were seen as a major source of support for the Labour party as the movement grew to about 4.1m by 1914. About 1.6m of them were affiliated to the Labour party. However, it did not mean automatic support for Labour as only a minority of them even bothered to turn up for ballots on whether or not to fund political parties. A majority of miners were also reported to be voting Liberal before World War I. Thus we see that in many terms the Labour party was a rising force but the Liberals still had the upper hand and were the main anti-Tory party in Britain. However, the previous two-party politics was gone from Britain, as Labour was a recognisable force. The issue of social reforms and the success they met with should also be considered in deciding whether the party was dying. The 1908 Old Age Pensions was probably the most important reform introduced by the Liberals and it met with considerable success. ...read more.

Conclusion

movement led to divisions among the Liberals. They used force-feeding to control the fasting movement by the imprisoned suffragettes and this suggested that the government did not really have a direct policy line on the issue. The trade unions were holding extensive strikes (40m working days lost in 1912) and there was a rising feeling of syndicalism. However, this feeling was only with minority of the union leaders and the government did not really face a threat. The Liberals were going to give Ireland Home Rule through the Home Rule Bill of 1912 but the Protestants in Northern Ireland did not want to join Ireland. The government complied with their demands by excluding 6 counties from the proposed Ireland. Thus this showed that the Liberals were following their policy line as well as succumbing under pressure. Thus we see that there are various evidences to suggest that the Liberal party had seized to be the only left wing power in the country opposed to the Conservatives. However, it was still stronger than the supposedly alternative party Labour and there was no strong evidence to suggest that the Liberal party was dying before World War I as they had still large electoral support and most importantly, although not as before, they were still the main opposing force to the Conservatives. ?? ?? ?? ?? Aruni Mukherjee U6 MVW - 1 - ...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. Free essay

    Consider the view that the liberal government reforms 1906-1914 were more concerned with the ...

    Prominently it seemed the pressure was mounting. The liberals knew what Labour had in mind and had to find a way to reach the conditions on a passable scale that they could get away with. This is quite evident as just before the act was passed the liberals had to

  2. How significant was The First World War in the Labour Party's rise to second-party ...

    His appointment of a moderate chancellor in Phillip Snowden helped demonstrate Labours modest nature and as Laybourn points out, "Snowden was a Gladstonian liberal in his economics, committed to free trade, returning to the gold standard, and balanced budgets,"13 going on to state "nationalization and major social reforms were to

  1. How far was the First World War responsible for the growth of the Labour ...

    The proposal had upset Lloyd George as he became more embittered and Lloyd George, Bonar Law, and Asquith resigned over the issue, which was a stone step to the split in the Liberal party. In 1916 Lloyd George was appointed as the new Prime Minister, which was apparently due to his popularity amongst the conservatives.

  2. WWI, The Twenty-One Demands and The May Fourth Movement

    With this object in view, definite proposals were presented to the Chinese Government in January of this year, and up to today as many as twenty-five conferences have been held with the Chinese Government in perfect sincerity and frankness. In the course of negotiations the Imperial Government have consistently explained

  1. How and why did Federation occur?

    * Mining also developed during this period with the opening of BHP silver and zinc mines in NSW and iron ore mining in South Australia. In 1915 BHP opened its iron and steel works in Newcastle. * Wide differences in rural living standards existed between wealthy graziers who owned impressive

  2. Why were the 1930's a decade of disappointment for the labour party?

    For almost the same reasons as the effects of the labour party split, the election results again drew attention to Labour's weaknesses and therefore became a main cause for disappointment in the early 1930's. But it wasn't election results alone that proved the 1930's as a decade of disappointment.

  1. Liberal Party Decline - Was it due to the First World War?

    The Liberals were only able to remain in power with the support of Labour and the Irish Nationalists. Although the statistics suggest the Liberals were damaged severely by the constitutional crisis of 1909-1911, Dangerfield overlooks their successes that resulted from the crisis.

  2. The Rise and fall of the Ottoman Empire.

    Suleyman the Just: In most Islamic History, Suleyman is regarded as the perfect ruler. He had all the necessary characteristics one of the most important of which was justice. Suleyman was named after Solomon, and definitely lived up to his name.

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