Modern World History- GCSE Britain

Detailed notes on the Britain section of Modern World History GCSE

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History Revision
Liberal Reforms
The main reasons for introducing the Liberal Reforms were.
Seebohm Rowntree published a book that studied published and concluded that in a country
where if you don't work you don't eat, the main three groups that were vulnerable to
poverty were- children, elderly, unemployed/sick.
David Lloyd George was a key individual in the introduction because he came from a lower
class background and therefore was hugely respected by the public and was aware of the
problems and sympathised those suffering.
Winston Churchill was also very influential because when the liberals introduced the reforms
he switched from the conservative party to join the liberals. He agreed with David Lloyd
George that poverty needed to be tackled.
The rise of socialism was also a key reason, they thought by introducing reforms fewer
people would vote socialist and therefore there would be less support for socialist
revolutions that were affecting France Germany and Russia.
The Boer War 1989-1902 also had a profound effect on the decision was 69% of the recruits
fighting in South Africa was unfit, and they had to lower the minimum height. This wasn't
good for a govt who needed to be able call up a strong army fast.
Industrial Decline- From 1870 onwards Britain's position as the leading industrial power was
being threatened by the USA and Germany. Germany's welfare system was very good and
David Lloyd George noticed this.
The main reforms can be split up into those that effect, children, old age, and workers.
Free School Meals. This meant children could eat one free school meal a day, 14 million were
served in 1914. However it wasn't compulsory so only half of Britain's local authorities set
this up.
School Medical Inspections 1907. This meant every school had to set up a medical service
that regularly checked children's health.
The Children's and Young Persons Act 1908. This gave special protection to children and
meant that parents could be prosecuted for neglect. It was also made illegal for children to
buy cigarettes and for them to be sent out begging. Young person's prisons were also
introduced called borstals.
Sick and Unemployed
The Labour Exchange Act 1909. This meant people could sign up and would be informed of
available work. However the worst effected people were often at the bottom of the list.
The National Insurance Act 1911. This was introduced to give sick pay to underpaid workers,
they got up to 26 weeks of sick pay and free medical care. However the families of workers
didn't get these benefits and people could fake sickness and still get paid, it wasn't enough
to survive. The second part of this offered unemployment benefit however it wasn't too high
so people couldn't live off it. It came out of workers money and couldn't pay for a whole
The Pensions Act 1908. Over 70's got 5 shillings a week if they had no other form of income,
and married couples received 7 shillings 6 dimes. 650000 got pensions. Only Briton's who
have lived in England for 20 years got a pension and was only given to those who worked to
their full ability. Widows received nothing.

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These other reforms were introduces later.
1906 - the Trades Disputes Act ruled that unions were not liable for damages because of
1906 - the Workers Compensation Act granted compensation for injury at work.
1907 - school medical inspections.
1908 - eight-hour day for miners.
1910 - half-day a week off for shop workers.
A Merchant Shipping Act improved conditions for sailors.
From 1911, MPs were paid. This gave working men the opportunity to stand for election.…read more

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Why did Women Get the Vote?
The Suffragettes
At the time, the Suffragettes caused a lot of anger and it has been argued that they lost support for
the cause. Certainly, women had not been given the vote by 1914, even after a lot of Suffragette
violence. However, some historians argue that, although they could not be seen to give in to
Suffragette violence, politicians could not face a return to Suffragette violence after the war, and
that is why they gave women the vote.…read more

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Not everyone welcomed conscription, 50 MP's objected it in parliament. Another group were called
conscientious objectors or `conchies', they opposed because of political or religious reasons and
were often sent to jail unless they had a valid reason.
The Defence of the Realm Act was passed in 1914, this gave the government far more power to
control people's daily lives. It allowed the government to seize any land or building it needed and any
industries, they immediately took over the coal mines.…read more

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