Chapter 2: Why Gladstone lost the 1874 General Election

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  • Why did Gladstone lose the 1874 General Election?
    • Due to how voters were distributed between constituencies
      • The liberals got more votes than the Tories but gained fewer seats
    • Liberals didn't put up candidates in some English counties
      • Conservatives got seats without any votes being cast
    • Gladstone and his ministers weren't as energetic as they used to be
      • Disraeli described them as 'exhausted volcanoes'
    • The Liberals quarreled amongst themselves
      • Non-conformists angry about the Education Act
      • Whigs argued about army reforms and Ireland land policies
      • Working men annoyed about trade union laws
    • Gladstone didn't always agree with his cabinet ministers
      • He planned to win by abolishing income tax but he didn't carry his cabinet with him
      • His announcement of the election date took everyone by surprise, including his party
    • The country was tired of change
      • The middle classes had turned to the conservatives
      • The Irish vote was lost
      • Many Non - conformists had stopped voting
  • In 1868, the Liberals had 387 MPs. In 1874, they had 251 MPs.


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