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1846-1873 Problems

Finding a suitable leader:

  • Absorbed in the problem of rgaining the political power that they ahd lost years before over the repeal of the Corn Laws
  • Conservatives held two short period in office as minority governments
  • Always difficult to pass any legislation
  • Lord Derby was Conservative Leader, but he sat in the House of Lords
  • Power of the Lords over the Commons had weakened after the formation of new constituencies in industrial towns 
  • Made it difficult for the Lords to influence procedings in the Commons 
  • They could still use veto to block any measures they disliked in the Lords
  • Few Coservative politicians of real quality to lead to party into the Commons
  • Apart from Disraeli 
  • However, great deal of prejudice against his background - he was distrusted by many in the party
  • His leadership was an unavoidable necessity and he apeared to be the person with clear ideas about developing party
  • Realised that to win support - vital to present electorate with new policies
  • Important to get the message across through public meetings 
  • Disraeli persuaded the Conservatives into the idea of parliamentary reform 
  • Developed ideas on the nee for social reform with committing to a proposal
  • He set about managing the reorganisation of the party machinery fter the 1868 defeat 
  • Helped to win the 1874 election 
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The Revival of Conservatism

  • General election of 1874 brought a firm victory for the Conservative Party
  • Liberals had alienated most of the spport that brought them into power in 1868
  • Conservatives had a secure majority in the Commons
  • Tory vote came largely from counties 
  • 26/33 seats in Lancashire went to the Conservatives
  • Cabinet contained a new generation of Tory leaders
  • Only 1 out of 12 members was not a peer or a landed gentlemen 
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Party Organisation

  • Political parties must improve their organisation in order to reach the new, expanding, better-educated electorate
  • Appointed John Gorst to overhaul party organisation
  • Set up a Conservative Central Office in London
  • 1870 = The National Union of Conservative Associations moved its HQ to Central Office
  • Gorst was able to direct its work in the constituencies to improve its electoral organisation
  • The National Union grew importance and became the body to which the constituency groups became affiliated 
  • Disraeli used it as his 'sounding board' to outline his policies
  • Propaganda tool promoting Conservatism in the boroughs 
  • Gorst targeted middle as well as workig class voters
  • Overall rise in the boroughs vote was a significant factor in the Conservative Victory of 1874
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Tory Democracy

  • Took advantage of Gladstone's increasing discomfort and unpopularity with several sections 
  • Began to plant the seeds of the idea of "Tory Democracy"
  • A brand of new Conservatism
  • Revive the fourtunes of the Conservative Party
  • Two important political speeches:
    • The National Union of Conservative Associations at the Manchester Free Trade Hall
    • Crystal Palace in London
  • Appealed to the working class vote
  • Used the notion of empire as a unifying force 
  • Ideal of empire was of paramount importance to Disraeli 
  • He saw it as a strong political and economic union
  • Monarch at its head
  • Interested in the new trends towards democracy and working-class voters
  • Strongly believed in maintaining tradition and privilege 
  • Knew that the party was not ready to abandon the old arisocratic heirachy 
  • If the working class placed their trust in the Conservatives, they could share some of the benefits enjoyed by the more prosperous groups in society
  • Disraeli's government was responsible for a number of important social reforms 
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The Election of 1906

  • Conservatives had been reduced to 157 MPs
  • 109 were in full support of tariff reform and only 16 in favour of free trade
  • The rest supported trade protection
  • Protectionists defined the Conservative Party 
  • Balfour was soon returned to parliament in a by-election 
  • Resumed leadership of the party
  • Lord Lansdowne became leader in the House of Lords
  • Vast majority of the members of Lords were traitionalists
  • Most actively supported the Conservatives
  • Balfour took advantage of this and encouraged the Lords to vote against Liberal legislation
  • Unjustifiable and clearly undemocratic
  • Preliminary round in the greatest constitutional crisis since 1832
  • Lords rejected the 1909 budget 
  • Ensuing crsis led the Liberals to call an election, which they won
  • Balfour resigned
  • Successor = Bonar Law
  • Emphasis changd to Home Rule towards Home Rule 
  • Outbreak of War = put on hold 
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