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The Liberal Party was among the 2 significant political parties in the UK with the opposing Conservative Party in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The party emerged from an alliance of Whigs and complimentary trade- supporting Peelites and the reformist Radicals in the 1850s. By the end of the 19th century, it had formed four governments under William Gladstone.
Under prime ministers Henry Campbell-Bannerman (19051908) and H. H. Asquith (19081916), the Liberal Party passed the welfare reforms that produced a basic British welfare state. Although Asquith was the party’s leader, its dominant figure was David Lloyd George. Asquith was overwhelmed by the wartime role of coalition prime minister and Lloyd George changed him as prime minister in late 1916, but Asquith stayed as Liberal Party leader.
In The Oxford Buddy to British History, historian Martin Pugh argues: Lloyd George made a higher influence on British public life than any other 20th-century leader, thanks to his pre-war intro of Britain’s social welfare system (especially medical insurance coverage, unemployment insurance coverage, and old-age pensions, largely spent for by taxes on high earnings and on the land).
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The government of Lloyd George was controlled by the Conservative Party, which lastly deposed him in 1922. By the end of the 1920s, the Labour Party had changed the Liberals as the Conservatives’ primary rival. The Liberal Party entered into decline after 1918 and by the 1950s won no greater than six seats at basic elections.
At the 1983 basic election, the Alliance won over a quarter of the vote, but just 23 of the 650 seats it objected to. At the 1987 basic election, its share of the vote fell listed below 23% and the Liberals and Social Democratic Party merged in 1988 to form the Liberal Democrats.
Popular intellectuals associated with the Liberal Party consist of the thinker John Stuart Mill, the economic expert John Maynard Keynes and social coordinator William Beveridge. The Liberal Party grew out of the Whigs, who had their origins in an stylish faction in the reign of Charles II and the early 19th century Radicals.
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Although their motives in this were initially to get more power for themselves, the more idealistic Whigs gradually concerned support an expansion of democracy for its own sake. The great figures of reformist Whiggery were Charles James Fox (died 1806) and his disciple and follower Earl Grey. After decades in opposition, the Whigs returned to power under Grey in 1830 and carried the First Reform Act in 1832.
The admission of the middle classes to the franchise and to the House of Commons led eventually to the development of a methodical middle class liberalism and the end of Whiggery, although for many years reforming aristocrats held senior positions in the party. In the years after Grey’s retirement, the party was led initially by Lord Melbourne, a relatively traditional Whig, and after that by Lord John Russell, the son of a Duke but a crusading radical, and by Lord Palmerston, a renegade Irish Tory and basically a conservative, although efficient in extreme gestures.
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The leading Radicals were John Bright and Richard Cobden, who represented the production towns which had gained representation under the Reform Act. They favoured social reform, individual liberty, lowering the powers of the Crown and the Church of England (many Liberals were Nonconformists), avoidance of war and foreign alliances (which were bad for business) and above all complimentary trade.
In 1841, the Liberals lost workplace to the Conservatives under Sir Robert Peel, but their duration in opposition was brief due to the fact that the Conservatives split over the repeal of the Corn Laws, an open market issue; and a faction understood as the Peelites (but not Peel himself, who died not long after) defected to the Liberal side.
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A leading Peelite was William Ewart Gladstone, who was a reforming Chancellor of the Exchequer in the majority of these governments. The formal structure of the Liberal Party is generally traced to 1859 and the development of Palmerston’s second government. However, the Whig-Radical amalgam could not become a real modern political party while it was controlled by aristocrats and it was not until the departure of the “Two Awful Old Guy”, Russell and Palmerston, that Gladstone could become the very first leader of the modern Liberal Party.
After a quick Conservative government (throughout which the Second Reform Act was gone by contract in between the parties), Gladstone won a huge success at the 1868 election and formed the very first Liberal government. The establishment of the party as a nationwide subscription organisation included the structure of the National Liberal Federation in 1877.
For the next thirty years Gladstone and Liberalism were synonymous. William Ewart Gladstone functioned as prime minister four times (186874, 188085, 1886, and 189294). His financial policies, based upon the notion of balanced budget plans, low taxes and, were suited to an establishing capitalist society, but they could not respond successfully as financial and social conditions altered.
Deeply spiritual, Gladstone brought a brand-new moral tone to politics, with his evangelical sensibility and his opposition to aristocracy. His moralism often angered his upper-class challengers (including Queen Victoria), and his heavy-handed control split the Liberal Party. In diplomacy, Gladstone remained in basic against foreign entanglements, but he did not withstand the realities of imperialism.
His goal was to produce a European order based upon co-operation rather than conflict and on mutual trust instead of competition and suspicion; the guideline of law was to supplant the reign of force and self-interest. This Gladstonian principle of an unified Performance of Europe was opposed to and eventually beat by a Bismarckian system of manipulated alliances and antagonisms.