Section 4 - History

HideShow resource information

Gladstone and Disraeli at Home and Abroad

The Revival of Conservatism:

  • General election of 1874 brought a firm victory for the Conservatives
  • Liberal policies had alienated most support that had brought him to power in 1868
  • Broke Liberal dominance after almost 30 years
  • Had a secure majority in the Commons 
  • Tory vote came largely from the counties, but also some borough and industrial towns
  • 26/33 seats in Lancashire went to the Conservatives
  • Cabinet contained a new generation of Tory leaders 
  • Remained socially exclusive in respect to its landed dominance
  • only 1 out of 12 of its members = not a peer or landed gentleman
1 of 30

Party Organisation

  • Loss of the 1868 election made Disraeli realised that political parties must improve their organisation in order to reach the new, expanding, education electorate
  • Appointed John Gorst to overhaul party organisation 
  • Set up a Conservative Central Office in London
  • Gorst had the poower to choose the candidate
  • In 1870 = the National Union of Conservative Associations moved its HQ to Central Office
  • Gorst was able to direct its work in the constituencies to imrprove organisation
  • National Union grew in importance and became the body to which the constituency groups became affiliated
  • Disraeli used it as his 'sounding board' in 1872 to outline his policies 
  • Gorst targeted middle as well as working class voters
  • Overall rise in the borough vote was a significant factor in the victory in 1874
2 of 30

Disraeli's Brand of Tory Democracy

  • After his defeat in 1868, Disraeli kept a lot political profile
  • Period leading upp to the 1874 general election - took advantage of Gladstone's increasing discomfort and unpopularity 
  • Began to plant the seeds of 'Tory democracy'
  • New brand of Conservatism, in order to revive the fortunes of the Conservatives
  • Two important political speeches in 1872 
  • National Union of Conservative Associations at the Manchester Free Trade Hall
  • Crystal Palace in London
  • Appeared to appeal to the working class vote - used the notion of Empire as a unifying force 
  • Ideal of empire = paramount importance to Disraeli 
  • Saw it is a strong political and economic union, with the monarch as its head
  • Interested in the new trends towards democracy and working-class voters
  • Strongly believed in maintaining tradition and privilge and knew that the party was not ready to abandon the old artisocratic heirachy 
  • If the working class placed their trust in the Conservatives = they could share some of the beenfits enjoyed by the more prosperous groups in society 
3 of 30

Disraeli's Brand of Tory Democracy

  • Disraeli = responsible for a number of important social reforms 
  • Question mark over his sincerity in calling for social reform
  • It may have been a dig at Gladstone?
  • Working-class votes helped to bring the Conservatives back into power 
  • Electorate was tired of Gladstone's endless legislation
  • Disraeli presented his party as having a 'broad-based appeal' 
4 of 30

Assessment of Disraeli's Social/Political legislat

  • Much of the legislation was adoptive
  • Facilitated change and improvement, rather than insisted on it.
  • Local authorities shied away from taking action on the grounds of cost
  • Still a reluctance to accept a too rapid expansion of State responsibility 
  • Few constructive social reforms 
  • Income tax was reduced to 2d - no surplus funds avaliable
  • Education act appeared to only prp up the voluntary church schools 
  • Compulsory school attendance could have alienated the working classes
  • Disraeli did establish the idea of Tory democracy through social reforms 
  • Indicated an awareness of the needs of the emergent working class
  • Improved influence of trade unions gave working classes a voice
  • Public Health Act = practical and lasted for over 60 years
  • Gave credence to the idea of a Tory working-clas sman 
  • Principle of State invervention was slowly extended 
  • Greatest achievement = Trade unions and Labour Laws
5 of 30

Disraeli's Foreign and Imperial Policy (1875-8)

Foreign Policy: 

  • Similar problems faced as Gladstone
  • Maintaining the balance of power in in Europe = paramount importance
  • Balance had changed with the emergence of a strong united Germany in 1871
  • German Chancellor = Bismarck 
  • Created an alliance system that centred on Germany, weakened France and isolated Britain
  • Disraeli's foreign policy was designed to restore Britain's position at the centre of world affairs 
  • Also to uphold the country's interests abroad, particularly those of its empire
  • Disraeli pursued an active and interventionist foreign policy
  • 1872 speech at Manchester = Disraeli criticised Gladstone's handling of foreign policy
  • Accused him of feebleness in upholding Britain's prestige abroad
  • Disraeli's approach is often compared to Lord Palmerson's vigorous approach 
  • Decision were based on expediency 
  • He did not consider the question of motality in any given situation
  • Apprarent in the outcry over the 'Bulgarian Atrocities' 
  • Bitter confrontation between Gladstone and Disraeli 
6 of 30

The Eastern Question

  • Decline of the Turkish Empire during the 19th century
  • Once stretched from south-east Europe to North Africa 
  • Could potentially create opportunities for several other European powers
  • France, Russia, Britain, Austria-hungary and Germany became concerned with whether or not they could obtain advantage from supporting or turning their back on a troubled Turkey 
  • Suited Disraeli to commit himself to a policy of containing Russia's ambitions
  • Lend additional support to Turkey to achieve this
7 of 30

The Eastern Crisis, 1875-7

  • Delicate balance of power between Russia, Turkey and Austria 
  • Treaty of Paris = Turkey would give better treatment towards the Christians within the Empire
  • Russia gave up any claim to protect them
  • Agreement was soon broken and the Christians suffered persecution at the hands of the Ottoman Turks
  • Result was a revolt in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1875 against the Turks 
  • Following year = spread to Bulgaria
  • Later affected Serbia and Montenegro 
  • Balkan nationalist rising and offered the chance for European interference
  • Greatest Powers tried to deal with the unrest by diplomatic means 
  • Disraeli publicy expressed concerns as he did not with the Dreikaiserbund to exploit the situation for its own ends
  • Reluctantly accepted proposals made to the Turkish government, by the Austro-Hungarian minimster 
  • These proposals were quickly unravelled when Turkey failed to cooperate
  • Dreikaiserbund continued diplomatic efforts by issuing the Berlin Memorandum in June 1876
  • Signed by Germany, Austria, Russia, France and Italy 
  • Demanded change and reform within the Turkish government
  • Disraeli refused to be a signatory on the grounds that he had not been consulted in initial dicussions
  • He was anxious that it would weaken Turkey to the extent that it would not be able to stop Russia expansion 
  • Damange British interests
8 of 30

The Eastern Crisis, 1875-7

  • Disraeli sent British naval vessels to the Dardanelle Straits 
  • Britain could not be marginalised in European decision making 
  • Action was seen by Turkey as an indication of British support 
  • The new Turkish Leader, Abdul Hamid, stemmed the Bulgarian revolt by using a force of irregular troops 
  • Carried out artocities against the Christian population in Bulgaria
  • Strong reaction from Britain
  • Extent of artrocities was minimised by Disraeli
  • Scale of horror was revealed in the Daily News 
  • Gladstone made much political mileage in a violent verbal attack - "The Bulgarian Horrors and the Question of East"
  • Proposed to expel the Turks from the Balkans 
  • Disraeli and Gladstone relationship was bitter as Disraeli felt he had destroyed British unity 
  • Offered unnecessary encouragment to the Russians 
  • Disraeli = indifferent to the sufferings of the Christians 
  • Moral outrage in Gladstone 
  • End of 1876 = Disraeli's foreign policy actions had sabotaged a settlement in the Eastern Crisis, encouraged the Turks to carry out atrocities against the Bulgarians, and caused expressions of deep outrage against him at home 
9 of 30

The Conference at Constantinople, 1876

  • December 1876
  • Try and stem the worsening situation, but demands for Turkey to reform were rejected by the Sultan 
  • Disraeli refused to pressurise the Turks, going against the advice of Lord Derby
  • Conference broke up 
  • Russia declared war on Turkey in 1877 on the grounds that it was acting on behalf of the Christians
  • Britain would only agree to remain neutral on the condition that Russia did not threaten position in Egypt and the Suez Canal, or enter Constantinople
  • Public opinion had turned in Disraeli's favour
  • Outbreak of 'jingoism' and anti-Russian feeling
  • War ended quickly the following year with the Treaty of San Stefano 
  • Russia proposed doubling the size of Bulgaria, over which it had huge influence
  • Britain and Austria demanded a European Congress 
  • Disraeli knew that Russia was weak financially and ilitarily 
  • Postured by ordering the British fleet to Constantinople and moved Indian troops to Malta 
  • Derby resigned in frustration at Disraeli's brinkmanship 
  • Lord Salisbury became foreign secretary 
10 of 30

Treaty of Berlin, 1878

  • The Treaty of Berlin was eventually agreed after a series of secret negotiations 
  • Disraeli's main objective = keep Russia out of the Mediterranean and reduce influence in the Balkan's
  • The 'Big Bulgaria' proposed in the Treaty of San Stefano was broken up 
  • Smaller state created and returned to Turkish suzerainty 
  • Agreement reached between Britain and Turkey
  • Britain = recieved Cyprus 
  • Turkey = promised toleration of Christian subjects in return for guaranteeing Turkish dominions 
  • Britain could keep watch on Russian ship movements to the North and South of the Suez Canal 
  • Agreement between Austria-Hungary an Britain secured Austro-Hungarian occupation in Bosnia and Herzegovina 
  • Indepdence of Serbia and Montenegro = guaranteed
  • Serbia = englarged 
  • Congress of Berlin = personal triumph for Disraeli 
  • Successful = Congress agreed to limit Russia's gains and the overall results strengthened Turkey in the Balkans and, therefore, the front of Russia
  • Averted full-scale war 
  • Placded many Christians under Turkish rule again
  • Austro-Hungarian occupation in the Balkans weakened the Dreikaiserbund 
  • All the agreement lay the seeds for the Great War, 30 years later 
  • Disraeli claimed 'Peace with Honour'
11 of 30

Imperial Policy

  • Traditional view = Disraeli aimed to pursue the expansion of the Empire
  • Historians have cncluded = he wanted to preserve, not expand, the Empire
  • The Empire brought the power and prestige which gave Britain influence in Europe 
  • Little evidence to suggest he had any great designs for the empire
  • Advertised the importane of the empire to his increasing popularity
  • Took few initiatives 
  • Left much of the decision makig to his ministers or officials abroad 
12 of 30

South Africa and the Zulu War, 1877-9

  • Colonial Secretary put pressure on the Dutch settlers to accept the annexation fo the Transvaal by Britain to deal with the threat of a Zulu attack 
  • Meant to be part of a bigger plan to form a South African Federation
  • Incorporating British and Dutch settlements but as part of the British Empire
  • Carnarvon appointed a British High Commissioner = Bartle Frere 
  • Disobeyed orders from London and got involved in a war against the Zulus 
  • British force of 1000 men died at Isandhlwana in 1879
  • Several months before the situation could be recovered 
  • Zulus declared defeat at Ulundi 
  • Disraeli = furious at the news of the war, but had given Carnavon too much of a free hand 
  • His own reputation suffered as a result 
13 of 30

Egypt and the Suez Canal

  • 1875 = Disraeli acted decisively over the purchase of shares in the Suez Canal 
  • Government of the Khedive of Egypt was on the verge of bankruptcy 
  • Needed £4m to avoid insolvency 
  • Disraeli consulted Queen Victoria who gave the purchase her blessing
  • Money was raised through a loan with Jewish bankers (Rothschilds) 
  • Smart move by Disraeli
  • Britain was able to exert influence over the suez canal, there would be huge advantages:
    •  
      • Britain negotiated a low rate for British shipping to pass through the canal, and this helped to achieve cheaper inports and exports and so stimulated trade
      • The deal helped to establish a sold British interest in Egypt
      • Reduced the travelling time to India from the Far East 
      • Provided an easy and speedy means of increasing military and naval forces in the Far East and more especially in India, where security concerns were growing 
14 of 30

Disraeli and British India

  • Trouble = Indian North-West frontier with Afghanistan 
  • Battle of wits between Russia and Britain as to who could gain control of Afghanistan first
  • Disraeli thought to encourage good relations with the Amir first, so he would be sympathetic with British conerns 
  • Colonial Secretary was in charge of British policy in India 
  • Lord Lytton = appointed Viceroy with the remit of setting up a British mission in the Afghan capital, Kabul
  • Lytton supported a forward or expansionist policy in India
  • Reservations from Salisbury and Derby about Lytton's suitability for the job
  • 1878 = Tsar sent a mission to Kabul 
  • Lytton was ordered to take no action until all diplomatic channels had been tried
  • Lytton sent troops in Afghanistan despite orders and chased the Russias out 
  • A British mission was established in Kabul
  • 1879 = resentment against the British spilled over into a massacre of the entire mission
  • A strong force of British troops = immediately dispatched 
  • Order wasn't restored until after 1880
  • Much criticism of Disraeli's lack of control over Lytton and aggressive policy
  • Soon after = stable and lasting relationship with Afghanistan emerged
15 of 30

Achievements of Gladstone's Second Ministry, 1880-

  • General election of 1880 = victory for the Liberals
  • Gladstone was riding high on a successful election campaign 
  • Mounting anger against Disraeli's foreign policy decisions had drawn back Gladstone
  • Gladstones argued on the Bulgarian atrocities was the beginning of his success
  • Noticeable division within the Liberal party
  • Old Whigs = led by Hartington who feared Gladstone's radicalism
  • Radicals = led by Chamberlain who was at odds with Gladstone over the need for increased taxation to pay for an extensive programme of social reform
  • Irish Nationalist Party = led by Parnell and now strong enough to make its presence felt
  • Leadership of the Conservatives was taken over by Salisbury 
16 of 30

Domestic Policy

  • Much of Gladstone's Second Ministry was taken up with the problems relating to Ireland
  • He was responsible for some other far reaching political reforms and actions
  • Moved Britain towards greater democracy 
17 of 30

Electoral Reform

  • The Corrupt Practices Act, 1883
  • The Franchise Act, 1884
  • Redistribution of Seats Act, 1884
  • The Corrupt Practices Act = extension of the Secret Ballot Act of 1872
  • Closed the loopholes that allowed corruption to continue 
  • Ensured that candidate's election expenses wre set to a specified limit
  • Made clear what campaign money could be spent on 
  • Election agents had to produce accounts
  • Clearly defined illegal and corrupt practices
  • Introduced stiff fines and prison sentences for anyone breaking the law
  • Politicians now had to win support by promoting better policies 
  • Reinforced by a growing working-class electorate 
18 of 30

Electoral Reform

  • Real impetus for electoral reform came from Joseph Chamberlain
  • Part of his strategy to take control of the Liberals and replace its leadership 
  • Believed that electoral reform could produce mor Liberal voters from the labouring populatio in th rural areas who still did not have the vote 
  • Mainly agricultural labourers and a large number of miners
  • No logical argument against extending the franchise
  • Gladstone's ministry was running into trouble over Ireland 
  • Agreed to electoral reform as a means of winning back popularity 
  • Gladstone took the credit for the reform 
19 of 30

Electoral Reform

  • Real impetus for electoral reform came from Joseph Chamberlain
  • Part of his strategy to take control of the Liberals and replace its leadership 
  • Believed that electoral reform could produce mor Liberal voters from the labouring populatio in th rural areas who still did not have the vote 
  • Mainly agricultural labourers and a large number of miners
  • No logical argument against extending the franchise
  • Gladstone's ministry was running into trouble over Ireland 
  • Agreed to electoral reform as a means of winning back popularity 
  • Gladstone took the credit for the reform 
20 of 30

The effects of electoral reform

  • Franchise reform removed discrimination over voting - no longer tied to property
  • Uniform franchise in both counties and boroughs now existed
  • Agricultural labourers and miners in rural areas brought into the voting system
  • Electorate doubled to 6 million voters 
  • Two out of three men now had the vote 
  • Enfranchised th working classes and reduced the influence of the landed classes
  • Great step towards democracy
  • Redistrubution of seats brought an end to the over-representation of the rural areas and under-representation of the industrial towns and cities
  • Most constituencies were now singl member and equally sized in terms of population
  • System of constituencies was tied in with the distribution of the population
  • Fair representation across Britain
  • Encouraged political organisations to improve their organisation 
  • Radicals brought into contact with new rural voters, while the Conservatives strengthened their support in the boroughs - introduced a modern system of electoral representation
  • New Irish voters consolidated the position of Parnell and the Irish Nationalist Party 
  • Strengthened the Home Rule fight
  • Liberals lost old Whig support by the abolition of so many seats
21 of 30

The effects of electoral reform

  • Radicals took on a more influential position in the Liberal Party
  • Marked the beginning of the end of Gladstonian Liberalism
  • Gladstone's administration achieved little less in terms of reform
  • Distracted by the crises abroad and the problems over Ireland
  • Gladstone was increasingly difficult to work with and Chamberlain's ambitions harder to contain
  • Chamberlain's plans attracted th voters who gave them the majority in 1885 
  • Marked the beginning of Gladstone's short-lived third term in office
  • Liberals = severely weakened 
22 of 30

Gladstone's Foreign/Imperial Policies to 1885

  • Gladstone had made clear his opposition to Disraeli's foreign and imperial policies
  • Critised Disraeli on the grounds of aggression, immorality and cost 
  • Difficult to work out where Gladstone stood on foreign/imperial affairs 
  • First Ministry = criticised for severe disinterest
  • Once in office for Second Ministry = he appeared to turn around into a pro-imperial stance 
23 of 30

Egypt

  • 1878 = Egypt on the verge of political and economic collapse
  • Britain had considerable investments in Egypt and the Suez Canal
  • Gross misuse of funds by the Khedive that had been earmarked to buld up the infrastructure 
  • Khedive was deposed in favour of his son 
  • Anglo-French Dual Control Commission was put in place to restore financial stability and look after investors
  • Gave itself the power to pass reforms and cut expenditure 
  • Stirred up nationalist feelings
  • 1881 = Egyptian Army Officer led a nationalist rebellion, seized power, formed a government and banned foreign intervention in Egypt 
  • Gladstone sanctioned the navy to join France and send warships to Alexandria 
  • Egyptians prepared a defence against the Anglo-French fleet
  • Last minute = French withdrew
  • Confused orders led to an attack on Alexandria by the British fleet and there was a breakdown of law and order
  • Little alternative but to invade Egypt alone
  • Established Britain as land power in the Middle East for the first time
  • Nationalist feeling = short lived 
  • He was defeated by British troops, captured and dported
  • Gladstone = intended to sort the problem and withdraw from Egypt as quickly as possible 
24 of 30

Egypt

  • Justified reason = He believed British interests and the strategic position of Egypt to be greater importance
  • Further justification = to bring order and stability to Egypt 
25 of 30

The Sudan, 1883-5

  • Sudan was under the control of Egypt 
  • Authority had been undermined by actions of religious extremist, the Madhi 
  • 1883 = The Khedive sent force into the Sundan under British officer, Hicks
  • Aim was to supress the Madhi
  • Battle of Shkan = Hicks was killed and the army ambushed and trapped
  • Gladstone expressed some sympathy for the Mahdi's position and his right to fight for his people's freedom and right to self-government 
  • View that had little sympathy in the 'Empire England'
  • The army of Egypt was in a perilous position
  • Glastone made the decision to send General Gordon to carry out the evacuation
  • View that Gordon had his own agenda - to refuse to withdraw until he had taught the Mahdi a lesson
  • At first = Gordon held the Nile Valley against the Mahdi
  • He was pushed back into Khartoum
  • Gordon requested relief troops
  • Delay and the reinforcements arrived two days too late to save Gordon
  • Seen as a national hero - badly let down by British authorities
  • Continued policy of withdrawal from the Sudan - leaving the Mahdi in control
  • Gladstone = peak of unpopularity 
26 of 30

Transvaal and the Boers

  • Zulus were defeated in 1879
  • Sir Garnet Wolseley made high commissioner of the Transvaal 
  • Making it a crown colony instead of giving it the self-governing status as promised 
  • Gladstone strongly criticised the annexation of the Transvaal in 1877 by Disraeli
  • Expectation from the Boers that they would have independence
  • 1881 = Gladstone stalled on the issue
  • Fighting broke out between the British and the Boers 
  • Boers inflicted a humiliating defeat on the British at Majuba Hill in 1881
  • Gladstone chose to compromise and granted independence with the British crown maintaining sovereignty 
  • Soon dropped after the Boers' angry reaction
  • 1884 = British government finally recognised the South African Republic 
27 of 30

Afghanistan

  • Gladstone intention = withdraw from Afghanistan
  • Dissuaded by the Indian Viceroy, Lord Ripon, who was anxious not to create unrest on the border and allow the Russians to take advantage
  • Gladstone agreed to continue to ference of Afghanistan 
  • Felt the policy carried risks as the British did not have the necessary control in Afghanistan to ensure success
  • 1885 = Russians seized Afghan town, which lay close to the Russian border
  • Russians expected to get away with it 
  • Gladstone threatened force
  • Russians withdraw and agreed arbitration
28 of 30

Summary of Gladstone's Foreign/Imperial Policies

  • Egypt = Gladstone had to consider British interests first
  • Occupation of Egypt surprised many and was greeted with approval by the public
  • Caused John Bright to resign from Cabinet 
  • Concerted European action over Egypt failed
  • Situation caused friction between Britain and France 
  • Turkey = annoyed by being side-side
  • France and Germany looked for colonial opportuniies for themselves
  • Gladstone = appeared to be on the back foot and pulled out of areas of informal British control to make way for other European interests
  • Gladstone was against interference with nationalist movements
  • He believed that they had a right to express themselves
  • Up against the pro-imperialist positions held by the majority of MPs
  • Transvaal = Gladstone hesistated which became a costly mistake 
  • Seen as giving way to force
  • Boers thereafter regarded the British as weak
  • Sudan = mistake in the choice of Gordon 
  • Gladstone handled the whole incident badly 
  • Britain was humiliated by withdrawal, leaving the Mahdi victorious 
29 of 30

Summary of Gladstone's Foreign/Imperial Policies

  • Little sympathy/understanding of Gladstone's foreign policy actions
  • Often appeared contradictory
  • Successes met with criticism and created divisions within the party between the Radical anti-imperialists and the Whigs who often supported a pro-imperialist position 
30 of 30

Comments

No comments have yet been made

Similar History resources:

See all History resources »See all state and people resources »