Why were the fortunes of the political parties so varied in the period 1900 - 1914?

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  • Created on: 14-02-14 14:35



  • Members of Parliament - a person who represents voters in parliament in the house of commons
  • Constituency - The people who live in an area and vote for a respresentation by an MP (Tammi)
  • Election  Held every 5 years, parliament dissolve and MPs are voted for again
  • Voting - ballot, in 1900 not many had the vote, only rich
  • Government - House of Commons and House of Lords
  • House of Lords - 1000 hereditary peers, some bishiops and judges too. Voted whether to agree or disagree with House of Commons - could veto
  • Prime Minister - man who leads the party who has the majority in the House of Commons
  • Cabinet - Important men in government in charge of different departments

F963: is a source paper, given 5 sources, to questions 30 marks and 70 marks

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The Political Parities in 1900

Conservative Party

  • Conservatives were dominant until 1905
  • Prime miniter Lord Sailisbury 1895-1902 and then his nephew Arthur Balfour 1902-1905 (both conservative
  • Believed in national efficiency in order to keep the empire 
  • Poor conditions, no welfare reforms, needed healthy workers to keep empire status
  • Leaders were aristocratic and didnt care about the working class

Liberal Party

  • split in 1890s iver the issue of the Irish Home Rule - make Ireland independant (may pave the way for other empire countries to do so)
  • Henery Campell- Bannerman as the leader in 1900 PM 1906- 1908 (died)
  • Replaced by Asquith 
  • Until 1918 the Irish sent MPs to the House of Commons in Westminster
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The Formation of the Labour Party

  • Mixture of various groups who anted the working man to have a say in politics
  • Social Democratic Federation - marxist group who aimed for class hostility and revolution
  • Fabians - Small middle class group who wanted to work towards socialism through the parlimentary system
  • Social League - Offshoot of the SDF, marxist
  • Independant Labour Party - set up in 1892 by Keir Hardie, influenced by radical liberalists, trade unionists and non conformist
  • Trade Union Congress - needed help politically after taff vale gave money
  • Taff Vale Judgement what where railway company sued the trade union for £42,000 damages
  • Lib Lab pact - Laour was the junior partener - helped labour
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Tariff Reform

Free trade - no charge on inport duties on goods from abroad, thinking that other countries would do the same

Tariff Reforms - charge inport duties or tariffs on goods brought into britain from abroard

  • Joseph Chamberlain (left liberals, against Irish Home Rule) - he and his supporters know as Liberal Unionists (wanted union) - grew close with conservative party
  • Jo became colonial secretary in the conservative government of 1902-1905
  • Liked Tariff Reforms
  • Saw is a a way of protecting british industry from foreigh competition
  • Strenghten economic links between britain and the empire - give them (empire countries) special terms (imperial preference) to them
  • Said it would lead to better jobs in the Empire
  • Raise money to pay for social reforms
  • Set up the Tariff Reform League
  • Working class were suspisious - lead to dearer food and didnt believe that the conservatives would offer social reforms
  • Divided conservative party - not organised by Balfour
  • Liberals united by haterd of tariff reforms - large and small loaf
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1906 elections - defeat of the conservatives by th

Conservatives went from 402 seats to 157. Several Causes:

  • Tariff Reforms - upset the working and middle class, split the conservative party and reunited the liberals
  • Boer War - problems were exploited by the press and liberals eg consentration camps
  • 1902 education act and licencing act upset the nonconformists
  • Taff Vale dispute upset workers
  • Lib/Lab strengthened labour
  • bad party organisation
  • chinese slavery upset workers and middle class
  • leaders were aristocratic and aloof didnt want to sort out social problems or put out any social reforms
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Reasons for Social Reforms

Liberals came to power after 1906 election, PM was henery campbell bannerman up until 1908

  • 1) studies into poverty and sickness and infant mortality - investigations done by people such as rontree indicated that a third of the population were diprived and that there was a outstanding need for social reforms to provide for the respectable poor, poor law was hated
  • 2) Impact of the Bore War - recruitment showed physical deteriation, many who had applied to fight in the war were unfit for military service. Liberals wanted an effective nation to keep the empire and look good to other countries (keep its orld power status). Competion of germany was fitter and could pose a threat
  • 3) Influence of new liberals - believing is state control, and the government taking a stronger role in protecting the weak and poor. involving national schemes such as benifits payed by tax. critisised the old liberals who talked about civil freedoms but drew a closed eye over the peoples struggles. New liberals included Lloyd George and winston churchill
  • 4) competition with the new labour party - desperate response to the rise of the labout party, and put social reforms in to stop them gaining votes. Labour spoke for the working class, liberals tried to do the same
  • 5) Central reforms were easier than reforming local gov finance - local efforts to solve unemployment and health had failed. Central control due to the shere scale of what needed to be done
  • 6) presure groups demanded social and welfare reforms
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Liberal Social Reforms

  • Reforms
  • free school meals, medical inspections at school and the childerns act
  • 1909 old age pensions for over 70s
  • 1911 national insurance act part 1 and 2 (workers)
  • 1906 trade disputes act
  • Trade unions act
  • Workmens compensation act
  • Critisisms
  • Childrens measures not compulsory
  • Friendly socitys opposed OAP ony over 70 and not alot of £
  • Poor law left untouched - still workhouses
  • Nothing done about housing
  • Didnt go far enough
  • Possitive
  • humble beginnings
  • shoed liberals could adapt
  • saw that state intervention was nessesary to help the weak
  • established a greater role for the state and the use of tax
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The Peoples Budget

The House of Lords is above the house of Commons and has the power to veto any bills made by Commons. After 1906 (conservatives had lost the commons election) the Liberal party were the majority in the House of Commons, however the Conservatives were still the majority in the House of Lords, and used this majority to defeat Liberal Bills such as the Education Bill.

The peoples budget was set up by the chancellor of the exchequer at the time Lloyd George, it was needed to pay for social reforms and to pay for new battleships called Dreadnoughts.

Possibly deliberatelt designed to provoke the House of Lords. The Budget introduced (in order to pay for things) taxes on the wealthy such as on their land, super tax 6p per £1 on income of £5000 and over, motor vehicles, petrol, alcohol and tobacco. The conservative peers (lords) were angry over these taxes - and so they rejected the budget 350 votes to 75.

The Liberal Prime Minister at the time Asquith called for a general election in January 1910 to show the country supported the budget - votes were equal between conservatives (273 votes) and liberal (275 votes) - liberal were now dependant on the irish nationalists and labour for their majority. Their majority was reduced in 1910 becuase thr WC didnt think the social reforms went far enough, industrialists and manufacturers felt they went too far.

Budget went through the commons again and was bnow accepted by the House of Lords

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1910 - Parliament Bill

2 months after the Peoples Budget had been passed, Asquith introducted the Parliament Bill - this would reduce the power of the House of Lords.

The Bill proposed that the Lords should not be allowed to touch a money bill, if a bill is passed by commons 3 times it should become law and the life of parliament was to be shorted from 7 yr to 5

Conservative Lords were against it, so Asquith asked the King Edward VII to promise to create 500 new peers to swamp the conservative majority in the House of Lords if they rejected the Parliament Bill.

King Edward VII died in may 1910 and so the king George V was coronated, he insisted on another election 1st so see what the public wanted in december 1910 (the results were the same as in january) causing delay.

 In August 1911 the Parliament bill was passed after it had been passed by commons three times, fear of 500 new peers. 

Triumph for Asquith but didnt help the Liberals long term, Some bills still took over two year to be passed as they were rejected 3 times. The defeat of the Conservative Lords left the party irreconcilable. Balfour resigned and Bonar Law succeeded

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