Disraeli Second Ministry Acts 1874-78

All of the Acts of Disraelis second ministry and whether they follow his policy of One Nation Conservatism

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Artisans Dwelling Act

  • 1875
  • Industrial workers were living in very poor conditions in crowded slums and were unable to afford any improvements
  • After Act, councils were given the power to demolish old properties and replace them with modern, healthy ones for urban workers (this was however not compulsory)
  • Minister responsible for the Act was Richard Cross, the Home Secretary
  • By the end of the 1870's not many authorities had done anything as it wasn't compulsory but there were huge changes in Birmingham
  • There was huge opposition from landlords as councils had the power to purchase property without their consent
  • Quite successful as it was in accord with One Nation Conservatism, due to improvements for workers and general health and sanitation
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Merchant Shipping Act

  • 1876
  • Before the Act, shipowners deliberately overloaded ships either to get insurance or to sell more goods so lots of sailors lost their lives due to sinking ships
  • The Act meant that shipowners had to draw a line around the ship to indicate the maximum load that could be taken (became known as Plimsoll Line)
  • Much of this Act was down to Samuel Plimsoll
  • Not totally effective because the ship owners could lie about their line
  • There was some opposition from ship owners
  • Fits in with One Nation Conservatism as it benefited the workers
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Friendly Societies Act

  • 1875
  • Friendly Societies - associations where members paid fixed contributions to ensure they received help in sickness and old age and ensure provision for their families in the event of death
  • The societies were growing and needed guidance so they were given accountant advice by the government
  • This meant societies could continue their work even more effectively in providing insurance for the better-off working classes
  • Minister responsible was Northcote (chancellor of exchequer)
  • Friendly society funds continued to grow and there was no opposition
  • One Nation Conservatism as it helped workers and labourers
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Sale of Food and Drugs Act

  • 1875
  • Ingredients harmful to health were forbidden in foods and certain drugs were forbidden from general sale
  • Minister responsible was Sclater-Booth
  • This was a major step in state regulation and it was the main piece of legislation in this field until 1928
  • Fairly successful but it was only limited to the prohibition of harmful substances so adding salt to beer and water to milk was not covered
  • Showed One Nation Conservatism as it was a Health Reform
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Conspiracy of Protection of Property Act

  • 1875
  • Trade Unions had been unhappy with Gladstones policy of making picketing illegal which was their main form of protest (undermined the point of Trade Unions)
  • This Act legalised peaceful picketing, which pleased the trade union leaders and ensured the moderate and peaceful development of trade unions
  • Minister responsible was Richard Cross, Home Secretary
  • This showed an aspect of One Nation Conservatism because it was to benefit the workers but it was perhaps also an example of Disraeli wanting votes to out do Gladstone
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Employers and Workmen Act

  • 1876
  • This Act meant that workers and employers had to be treated fairly in the courts and that the law could not distinguish between upper and lower class
  • Minister responsible was Cross
  • This was an example of One Nation Conservatism as there was social harmony
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Licensing Act

  • 1874
  • This Act practically overturned what Gladstone had changed in his Licensing Act
  • Drinking hours were extended by half an hour and police rights to search were reduced
  • This Act was intended to amend Gladstones Act in order to gain popularity
  • Minister responsible was Cross, and it was said he "shortened the hours of work, lengthened the hours of drink"
  • Some people favoured the working class as a result but in general there were not many dramatic results so perhaps it was just Disraeli looking for votes
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Public Health Act

  • 1875
  • Previous Health Acts had been ineffective and this was the turning point for public health in Britain
  • By the 1870s Louis Pasteurs theory started to become accepted so Disraeli saw it as necessary to change the health system in Britain
  • Minister responsible was Sclater-Booth
  • A mass of contradictory and different laws were consolidated, medical officers had been set up in large towns and sanitary authorities were established, there now had to be adequate water supply, drainage and sewage disposal, contaminated food sought out and destroyed, and infectious diseases were to be notified to the medical officer
  • The Act was seen as a triumph for administrative efficiency and as more effective than the liberal legislation in 1872
  • Coupled with Pollution of Rivers Act 1874, it remained the basis of Public Health Laws until 1920s
  • Improved living conditions of many people so really in line with One Nation Conservatism
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Factory Acts

  • 1874 and 1878
  • There were long working hours, poor working conditions and children were often unable to get an education as they had to work
  • 1874 - hours reduced for women and children and minimum ages increased for half time work to 10 years and full time work to 14 years
  • 1878 - All previous legislation was consolidated and the distinction between factories and workshops was abolished
  • Minister responsible was Cross
  • Reducing the hours meant that children were able to go to school and there was hope that hours would be reduced for men too
  • There was opposition from employers who lost a lot of working hours
  • Showed One Nation Conservatism as social harmony was intended between the employers and workers and it created a fairer working system
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Education Act

  • 1876
  • Children between 10 and 14 could only leave school if they had a certificate indicating minimum levels of attainment
  • Minister responsible was Viscount Sandon-Viee
  • Conservatives hoped to encourage more voluntary schools as these seemed to be expanding at a slower rate than newly established Board Schools
  • Elementary education up to age of 10 was now effectively compulsory as long as local authorities enforced attendance
  • More and more poor families were exempt from school fees
  • One Nation Conservatism as education was further encouraged and there was to be social harmony (poor not excluded from having an education)
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Public Worship Act

  • 1874
  • Many of the Clergy in the Church of England performed Roman Catholic practises which, in Disraeli's opinion, was going against the CofE
  • Certain rituals were to be banned and Clergy who defied the ban could end up in jail
  • Gladstone opposed the Act but it passed the Lords and the Commons
  • It was however ineffective as no one wanted to see priests jailed and it caused a lot of controversy
  • Disraeli wished he had not meddled by introducing this Act
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