OCR - Enquiry topic: Political Issues 1900-1914 (COMPLETE)

Complete and detailed notes for Political Issues topic of Enquiry topic - England & a New Century c.1900-1951

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Britain 1900-51 (OCR)
Enquiry topic- England & a New Century c.1900-1951
Political Issues 1900-1914
1. England in 1900
2. Major political parties
3. Liberal Landslide + Reasons
4. Origins and development of Labour Party and Trade Unions 1893-1914
5. Constitutional crisis, causes + consequences
6. Women suffrage 1906-1914
7. The Irish problem 1910-14
8. Trade unions and industrial unrest
England in 1900
The Conservatives were in power
Lord Salisbury was the PM
Everyone had to pay for medical care
The house of lords could veto new laws from being made if they didn't like them
Only men could vote in general elections
Britain was a world power with the largest empire in the world & had the world's
strongest economy
Politics was dominated by the conservatives & Liberals
Ireland was still in the union
The empire was very expensive to maintain
Only primary education was free
Government was not interested in the ordinary people
Parts of Ireland (Southern Catholics) resisted to union with Britain
Boer War (1899-1902) exposed weaknesses in public health
o 1/3 failed the medical tests
High level of widespread poverty as a consequence of industrialisation
o -- Seebohm Rowntree & Charles Booth did studies in poverty in York &
o Growth in conurbations led to intensified overcrowding, malnutrition & illness
o Mismanagement of investment in coal industry
o Poor law was unsuitable
Decline in "National Efficiency" - level of wellbeing & health needed to achieve if the
UK was to sustain militarily & industrially
Declining economy & growth rate

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UK = 2.3 USA = 4.6
o Caused by WW1
o No longer the biggest manufacturer
o Industrial relations crisis between the new trade unions increasing in
membership & power & the employers
Four main political parties
1.…read more

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Winning the khaki election
7. Weakness of their opponents
Lord Salisbury & the liberal split
o Capitalised on the split of the Liberal Party over Home Rule in Ireland in 1886.
This consolidated the Conservative's political dominance.
o Following the split he promoted limited reforms in government designed to
satisfy the demands of the Liberal Unionists.
o 1888: the introduction of elected county councils.…read more

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Conservative resignation
When a PM senses that they have lost the public's confidence they will normally call
a general election.…read more

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Workers felt their wages & jobs depended on it
Choice between dear & cheap food & having a job or not
2.…read more

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Taff Vale Case
Energised the trade unions, threatened the right to strike
The Taff Vale Railway Company sued the Amalgamated Society of
Railway Servants for damages after a strike.
The company won & the ASRS had to pay damages & costs of £51,000.
After Taff Vale, there was an increased willingness of trade unions to
affiliate to the LRC. Membership rose from 376,000 (1901) to 998,338
Legal landmark care, setting what people thought would be legal pace
7.…read more

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Better Campaign
Franchise reform- decrease in voters in conservative areas & increase in
w/c voters
Ability to mobilise previous untapped support
Development of Labour and the Trade Unions
o By 1906 the Labour party was small, but a growing political force
o Attempts made in 1880s to create a political party representing trade unions and the
working classes.
o None had MPs elected.
o Although there were a few working class MPs (mainly trade unionists who sat with
the Liberals called Lib-Labs.…read more

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Provoke the house of lords into, giving the liberals an accuse to curb their power
Through the budget LG wanted to establish key principles of:
Redistributive taxation ­ "Robin Hood Tax"
Progressive taxation ­ more money earned = higher % of tax
Needed to find £10 million to tackle poverty due to trade depression in 1908, causing high
levels of unemployment and poverty
Proposed measures:
Old age pensions
Expensive naval building programme including eight dreadnoughts
"Supertax"- higher rate of tax for people with high income…read more

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Irish nationalists ­ 82
Discussion turned against the HoL's interests
LG wanted the HoL abolished
Churchill suggested a second elected chamber
Asquith proposed more Liberal peers
The bill passed quickly and quietly through the HoL after the Commons showed a majority
The Parliament Bill 1911
Liberals determined to reduce the power of the HoL and their ability to block laws
Proposed measures:
Curb and limit their powers
Take away their right of veto
No power to amend or reject bills declared true money bills by…read more

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Became known as the suffragettes.…read more


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