Why did the Liberal Party lose the 1874 election?

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  • Why did the Liberal Party lose the 1874 election?
    • Forster's Education Act 1874
      • Nonconformists opposed the act.
      • It favoured CoE schools through increased grants and aid.
      • It didn't provide a system of free, national and secular education to which the NC's were committed to.
    • Religion
      • The rift between the NCs and the government worsen over the education
      • A motion was put forward to disestablish the CoE, which many NCs and radicals supported
      • An anti-roman catholic feeling due to the Vatican Council 1870 which had decreed Papal Infallibilty
      • The growth of ritualism in the CoE and the Irish Universities Bill 1873 deepened divisions nonconformism
    • Trade Union Revolt
      • The Criminal Amendment Act 1871 prevented workers the right to picket
      • Prompted resentment from Trade Unions - led to the campaign to repeal the Amendment Act led by the TUC
      • The Labour movement became increasingly disinterested towards official liberalism
      • They became more politically minded and independent
    • Liberal Administration
      • The many reforms that marked the early years had faded out
      • It was losing support from NCs, roman cathiolics, radicals and working men. They had brought victory in 1868
      • Scandals were revealed in the administration that caused members to resign. Gladstone took on these jobs as well.
      • In October 1873, John Bright made a speech attacking the Education Act. Forster rejected what he said, making the disunion clear
  • In the 1874 election, Disraeli won a majority of 50. The Liberals lost about 20 seats due to NCs not voting.
  • Other factors
    • The brewers revolt - opposed the Licensing Act 1872
    • Working class - opposed the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1871
    • Middle class - alarmed by the rise of working class strength and influence


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