Liberalism dominated Scottish politics in the 19th century which can be seen in their ascendancy in elections between 1832 and 1914.
#1 A party of democracy
- Liberalism was seen as the party of democracy.
- They had campaigned for the Great Reform Act in 1832, and the impact in Scotland was greater than in England. The credit for removing the ancien regime was therefore always stressed as the achievement of Liberalism.
- The introduction of municipal franchise reformer after 1832 further reinforced the credentials of Liberalism.
- The liberal party subsequently supported further franchise reform, notably leading the agitation in and out of parliament for the reform acts of 1868 and 1884.
- The beneficiaries of these reform acts - the rural and urban working class - were absorbed into the liberal camp quite painlessly.
- Female suffrage was also firmly endorsed by the majority of scottish liberals and caused less dissension in scotland between 1906 and 1914 than in England.
#2 Land reform
- The demand for land law reform and an assault on landlordism had a particular appeal in Scotland.
- The identification of great landowners abusing the unreformed system was a long standing issue.
- This was exacerbated by sustained efforts on the part of the landowners to find loop holes in the new reformed system after 1832 to continue to manufacture ****** county voters. This was played into as late as the 1880s.
- In the 1840s the land question remained prominent because of the refusal by some proprietors - particualrly those tainted with the support for the pre-1832 political system - to erect churches of free worship on the land belonging to the lairds. The Whigs and the Liberals used committees to publicize this grievance.
- A vigorous protest…
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