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Why was the Labour Party formed in the first part of the 20th Century?

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Introduction

Why was the Labour Party formed in the first part of the 20th Century? The Labour Party has its origins in the social and economic changes of the nineteenth century. By the second half of the century Britain had a large and growing industrial working class. Skilled workers enjoyed a rising standard of living during the nineteenth century, but social surveys showed that around 30 per cent of the working class were living in poverty. Awareness of these inequalities fuelled a demand among both the working classes and the middle-class intellectuals for social reform. At the same time socialist ideas, such as those of Karl Marx, who spent half of his life in London, had their impact. From the 1850s to the 1880s, most trade unionists supported the Liberal Party and ideas of meritocracy. In 1874, two Liberal/Labour working-class MPs were elected: Thomas Burt and Alexander McDonald. By the 1890s, Britain had become even more industrialised and large numbers of people lived in towns and worked in manufacturing. ...read more.

Middle

These groups grew in popularity due to the common frustration with the Conservatives. There was much anger at this government, which was lead by Lord Salisbury, as it still remained an aristocratic leadership. The LRC was formed in 1900 as a result of trade union action prompted by a number of other factors. One of these factors is the Liberal decline. The Liberal Party split in two after the introduction of the First Home Rule Bill. A traditional Liberal support of workers' interests had waned to the extent that the belief that it would choose working-class parliamentary candidates had virtually disappeared. Another factor was the employers' hostility. In the 1890s, trade unions faced a major attack from employers who were supported by court judgements that underlined the lack of working-class political influence. Moreover, this lead to a demand from the working classes for representation. A further factor was the Trades Union Congress of 1899. ...read more.

Conclusion

The technological advances formed as a result of the industrial revolution helped to split the middle and working classes. The managers and owners formed the middle-class, whilst the labourers formed the working-class. Another reason was political change. Many working-class men had the vote after 1884. This meant that a working-class Party would have a lot of support. The working-class electors wanted to vote for a Party that would represent them and their needs, and so this left the way for a party to emerge. The Labour Party was formed at the beginning of the 20th century because it had the support and the demand. The demand had formed from the industrial revolution and the support came from middle-class radicals as well as the working classes. The Labouring classes had formed the majority of the electorate following the social reforms of the nineteenth century. The majority of the working classes were unhappy with the present economic and social situation, they wanted to use their votes to solve fight for their cause and with the newly formed Labour Party they could do exactly that. Amy Knighting 12JB 1 ...read more.

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