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Gladstone's First Ministry

Liberal dominant party à Gladstone dominant in Liberal party

Was minister in Peel's governments à Peelite

Chancellor of Exchequer in Aberdeen coalition à gained reputation for cutting taxes and
aiming for free trade

Supporter of Italian unification à joined Liberal party

Moved Britain towards a meritocracy à…

Page 2

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Liberal party was a mix of Whigs, Peelites, Liberals and Radicals à combined support
for Italian unification

Whigs were members of the aristocracy who opposed monarchic influence in politics à
landowners who normally sat in the House of Lords

Peelites were former followers of Peel, from industrial or commercial backgrounds,…

Page 3

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Faddism in the Liberal party à party susceptible to splits

Gladstone's first cabinet had 3 Peelites, 3 Liberals, 2 Radicals including Bright who
was the first nonconformist to hold cabinet rank, but largest group were the Whigs

Reforms were to satisfy pressure groups:

à New Model Unions

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Disestablishment of the Church of Ireland Act, 1869 à Liberation Society saw this as a
step towards their goal

Irish Land Act was seen as an attack on rights à pushed Whigs towards Conservative

Irish Universities Bill, 1873 defeated by 3 votes, forcing Gladstone to resign à Disraeli

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Licensing Act of 1872 gave JP's the right to fix opening and closing hours and check on
adulteration of beer à disappointed pressure groups and upset brewing interests and
`drinking masses'

Ballot Act, 1872 introduced secret ballot à candidates no longer nominated at hustings

Trade Union Act, 1871 gained legal…

Page 6

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Disraeli declined office in March 1873 à unwilling to follow pattern of Liberal
government followed by a short period with a Conservative minority

Liberal government disintegrated à Liberals fighting among themselves

Conservative Party reorganised à National Union of Conservative Associations and a
Central Office created

Disraeli's policy outlined at Manchester…

Page 7

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Home Government Association was formed in 1870 and grew rapidly gaining 58 seats
in the 1874 election, mainly at the expense of Irish Liberals à became the Home Rule


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