Britian 1906-1914

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  • Created on: 07-04-14 13:37

Lib Landslide 1906

  • Dec 1905 Balfour resigns his gov. - led to gen election Libs 400 seats Cons. 157
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Reasons for Lib Landslide - Boer War 1899-1902

  • Cons criticized for conduct+costs(lives&money)+quality of British army+crimes against civilians
  •  50% British troops failed medical
  •  death 28,000 Boer women+children caused moral outcry
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Reasons for Lib Landslide - Nonconformist voters

  • many n.c's voted Lib but drifted away over Home Rule - many went Cons. but change in Cons. policy bought them back to Libs
  •  1902 Education Act changed funding for schools -  N.C's furious their taxes would fund Anglican/Catholic schools
  •  1904 Licensing Act reduce number of pubs - angered anti-drink NC's as brewers compensated with cash for loss licenses
  •  Chinese slavery damaged Cons. - Chinese workers imported to South Africa - N.C's saw unethical exploitation - T.U's feared Chinese labour may be brought to Britain
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Reasons for Lib Landslide - w/c voters

  • Cons. alienated w/c voters
  •  1902 Taff Vale allowed companies to sue T.U's for losses caused by strikes - strikes main T.U weapon
  •  growing awareness state needed to improve living standards - Cons. unprepared to introduce social reform
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Reasons for Lib Landslide - Tariff Reform

  • 1903 Con. Minister Joseph Chamberlain resigned cabinet position to campaign for reintroduction of tariffs - strengthen empire protect jobs fund social reform
  •  Libs united against protectionism - campaigned to keep free trade - huge issue as associated with cheap food and low taxes - fatally split Cons. party - lost many voters who feared protectionism = higher food prices 'bread and butter issue'
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Reasons for Lib Landslide - conclusion

  • cons weakness+misjudgement contributed hugely to defeat
  •  Libs able to unite behind new leader Campbell-Bannerman on issue free trade
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Growth of New Liberalism - Old Liberalism

  • by 1890's Lib party begun redefining principles and priorities
  •  many new young MP's saw party more appealing once Gladstone out(1867-94)
  • Gladstone represented Old Liberalism - self help freedom of speech minimal gov. intervention and thrift
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Growth of New Liberalism - New Liberalism

  • greater emphasis role of the state to provide 'safety net' for vulnerable
  •  party needed to react to social problems caused by industrialization - slum housing+poverty+ill health+ignorance
  •  Victorian economic boom ended showed New Libs that economic growth alone not enough to solve social problems
  •  Rainbow Circle - group of Lib Politicians who formed in 1890's created much foundation of New Libs
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Growth of New Liberalism - Factors leading to grow

Growth of New Liberalism - Factors leading to growth of New Liberalism

  • Gladstone retirement - allowed new opportunities+ideas to emerge
  •  Electoral defeat 1895/1900 - party needed new appeal
  •  Founding of Independent Labour Party(1893) and Labour Representation Committee(LRC,1900) created left-wing rival for Libs
  •  new generation of new young MP's DLG+Churchill
  •  Social welfare New Zealand+Germany showed gov. intervention could help limit poverty
  •  T.U's increasingly radical - feared of industrial disorder unless state acted
  •  publication of research - Boothe + Rowntree drew attention to poverty
  •  campaign for 'national efficiency' address to issue from Boer War - declining industrial lead over Germany/US+ effect of poverty on health of nation
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Growth of New Liberalism - Boothe + Rowntree

  • 30% British pop. lived at or below subsistence level
  •  poverty caused by economic forces beyond individual control - scrapped 19th century belief idleness = poverty
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Growth of New Liberalism - conclusion

  • lot of continuity between 'old and 'new' Liberalism - New Libs still promoted self help and minimum state intervention
  •  New Libs placed greater emphasis on role of state recognised need for higher gov spending tax to help vulnerable
  •  New Lib laid foundations for Labour 1945 welfare state
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New Liberalism - Social Reform

  • limited reform under Bannerman - 1906 trade disputes act reversed Taff Vale
  •  1908 forward new PM Herbert Asquith - pace of social reform accelerated - also more radical MP's incl. DLG+Churchill


  • reform changed relationship between state and individual - move away from laissez faire
  • Children: l.a's power to provide FSM(1906 Education Act) +had to set up school medical services(1908 Children Act)
  • Old People: 1908 O.A.P Act - Britain first state funded non contributory support for elderly
  • Workers: 1909 Trade Boards Act regulated sweated trades, Labour Exchanges(1909) location finding work, 1911 National Insurance Act first unemployment/sickness benefit, 1906 Workmen's Compensation Act protect workers from exploitation - compensation for accidents, 1908-11 Coal Mine Acts limit number hours underground to 8 improve safety
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New Liberalism - Social Reform


  • Libs didn't want a welfare state, just a 'lifebelt'
  • 1906 Education Act + 1909 Town Planning Act permissive
  • 1911 National Insurance Act contributory
  • old poor law untouched
  • L.G intended build council houses - stopped b/c war
  • casually employed ignored
  • school meals inadequately funded
  • old age pension provided bare minimum for survival
  • Trade Board covered limited range of workers
  • Labour Exchanges didn't tackle causes of unemployment
  • sickness benefit covered less than 1/3 workforce
  • many reforms cautious and conservative
  • accepted vulnerable needed protection by state against exploitation and poverty
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New Liberalism - Constitutional Reform

  • Cons dominated Lords key obstacle to Lib party reform agenda
  • Rejection 1909 budget by Lords led to 2 gen. elections in 1910 and ended August 1911 with passing of Parliament Act
  • bill could only become law when passed by both houses
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The 1909 People's Budget

Needed to raise £15m to pay for reforms+warships

  • increased tax on incomes over £3000/yr
  • super tax on incomes over £5000/yr
  • increase death duties landed estates
  • 20% levy on unearned increase in land value

Unclear whether L.G wanted to provoke Lords into rejection - clearly relished attacking peers - claimed H.O.L = 'Mr Balfour's Poodle'

Lords vetoed budget - necessitated general election

Cons argued:

  • budget vindictive attack on landed classes
  • by blocking budget they were defending freedom of nation - L.G waging class war
  • L.G guilty hypocrisy - was also using money for warships, not just social reform - L.G claimed budget was a "war against poverty and squalidness"
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General election, January 1910

  • L.G fought on slogan 'peers versus the people'
  • Cons. presented selves as fighting social revolution
  • Libs won narrowly - forced Lords to pass budget
  • Crisis quickly entered 2nd stage
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The Parliament Act, 1911

  • Libs introduced Parliament Bill to stops Lords blocking legislation passed by Commons
  • Asquith gained promise from George V to create 500 Lib peers - give Libs majority in Lords - if Libs won election of issue
  • Libs and Cons both won 272 seats Dec 1910 election
  • Libs had backing Irish Nationalists + Labour so passed Parliament Bill - fully passed August 1911
  • Cons in Lords allowed it to pass - didn't want Lords swamped with 500 Libs
  • Parliament Act - H.O.L lost power to reject budgets and could only delay legislation for no longer than 2 years
  • Maximum period between gen election 7 -> 5 years
  • Parliament Act made British constituion more democratic - moved center power to Commons
  • Traditions Cons. blamed Balfour - forced resign Nov. 1911 - Bonar Law replaced
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New Liberalism - Political Reform

  • 1910 elections elft Cons/Libs 272 seats each - Libs increasingly reliant on Labour/Irish Nationalists to stay in power - had to accomodate goals of these parties

The Osborne Judgement

  • 1909 Walter Osborne won legal ruling making it illegal for T.U's to collect political levy
  • Osborne Lib party member - objected to part of his pay pakcet going to rival socialist party
  • Labour party almost entirely funded by political levy
  • Under pressure from Labour Lib gov. passed 2 reforms:
  • Payment of MP's Act, 1911 - Salary £400/yr - previous MP's not paid - huge advantage for Labour
  • Trade Union Act, 1913 - restored legality of political levy but individual members could opt out
  • Two acts strengthened Labour - steady income and w/c men could be MP's
  • Libs didn't extend vote to all - women didn't get vote
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Irish Nationalists and Home Rule for Ireland

  • Home Rule Bill proposed setting up Irish Parliament with power to pass laws on Irish issues - British gov. would deal with foreign policy, defense, taxation.
  • Third Irish Home Rule Bill passed 1912, due to pressure from Catholic Irish Nationalists(John Redmond leader)
  • Cons. against and backed Protestant Ulster Unionists led by Edward Carlson - opposed Home Rule demanded Ireland stay part of Britain
  • Unionists formed own army - Ulster Volunteer Force(UVF) - Irish Nationalists formed Irish Volunteers
  • Crisis increased Bonar Law refused to condemn UVF build up of weapons. 
  • British officers at Curragh army base in Ireland threatened to resign rather than force Home Rule on Unionists - Curragh mutiny
  • Home Rule Bill due to become law Autumn 1914 - postponed by war
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