How liberal were Gladstone's domestic reforms during his first ministry?

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How liberal were Gladstone’s domestic reforms during his first ministry?

Gladstone became Prime Minister for the first time in 1868, by winning the majority in the government. Gladstonian Liberalism united all members of the party and gave ordinary people hope and optimism to change their future. During his first ministry he introduced major reforms and policies which drastically changed the country, some of these included the reorganisation of the educational and civil services, rearrangement of the judicial system and the licensing act; he was also involved in developing Ireland and her political reform. Some of his policies supported his ideals of the government; however others contradicted his initial promises.

Gladstonian Liberalism was based on principles which were to create a stronger and efficient government. Gladstone wanted to give all individuals freedom to manage their affairs without interference of the state and enable them to trade without restrictions. He believed that the state should involve itself as seldom as possible, and should not interfere with the economy or decide what should be taught in schools. Gladstone wanted to create a competent and cheap government with low taxes and rates, and didn’t want to invest money in the public sector and instead to rely on private donations. Liberalism supported the idea of promotion by talent rather than patronage, and that people should be appointed to public sector based on merit. The new government wanted to introduce free trade in order to guarantee increased wealth to spread throughout all sections of the society. When Gladstone became president he introduced many new laws in order to improve the country and the living and working conditions. Most of his policies fitted in with his ideals of Liberalism, however there were a few which didn’t or proved ineffective.

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One of his first policies was the Administrative Reform. Initially the only possible way to enlist the civil service was based on social background; this resulted in many talented individuals being excluded from the system. Gladstone decided to change this and promoted the idea to campaign for talented middle classes to enter the service. As a result an examination was introduced to select civil servants. This made it possible for people from other backgrounds to gain a position in the service. This fitted in with Gladstone’s Liberalism as not only it gave people more freedom and equality but also ...

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This is an impressive response in which the author demonstrates a great deal of knowledge and organises ideas in a logical fashion. Gladstone's key reforms are evaluated carefully and a conclusion is reached that refers well to the evidence. 5 out of 5 stars.