Late 19th Century scramble for Africa
Old Imperialism: costly inconvenience but needed for national prestige and Britain's status as a Great Power; was a moral obligation to spread Christian values.
New Imperialism: should focus on economic and cultural aspects
The Boer War 1899-1902
Initially recieved public support
1900 General Election (Khaki Election) Conservative majority
However: high casualties; humanitarian concerns; international opposition weakened support for both Conservatives and Imperialism
Also one third of volunteers unfit for service
Chamberlain and Tariff Reform
Was dubious of free trade although it was the prevailing economic idea in Britain for decades
Wanted protectionism that would favour goods from within the empire
The money raised from import tariffs could be used for social reforms
Concerned about national efficiency
Germany and the USA were imposing tariffs on British goods
It would raise food prices so the working class would be against it.
Why did the Liberals win the 1906 General Election
Mainly due to Conservative failings:
BOER WAR 1899-1902 army wasn't properly commanded. showed health issues among working class, humanitarian issues.
TAFF VALE JUDGEMENT 1901 Taff vale railway company sued workers for striking and House of Lords ruled in employers support (Lyons/Wilkins case), workers felt alienated by government, striking their only power
EDUCATION ACT 1902 allowed Church Schools to be funded by local taxes. Main objectors were protestant non-conformists. Refused to pay rates and Liberals supported them and visa versa.
TARIFF REFORM 1903 taxes on goods from outside empire. Would raise food prices.
LACK OF SOCIAL REFORM workers' standard of living low, national efficiency, competition form USA and Germany
BALFOUR'S LEADERSHIP intelligent but indecisive. Didn't control party or Chamberlain.