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The Liberal Party was one of the two major political celebrations in the UK with the opposing Conservative Party in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The party occurred 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 actually formed four federal governments under William Gladstone.
Under prime ministers Henry Campbell-Bannerman (19051908) and H. H. Asquith (19081916), the Liberal Party passed the welfare reforms that created 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 function of coalition prime minister and Lloyd George changed him as prime minister in late 1916, however Asquith remained as Liberal Party leader.
In The Oxford Buddy to British History, historian Martin Pugh argues: Lloyd George made a higher effect on British public life than any other 20th-century leader, thanks to his pre-war introduction of Britain’s social welfare system (specifically medical insurance, unemployment insurance, 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 dominated by the Conservative Party, which finally deposed him in 1922. By the end of the 1920s, the Labour Party had actually changed the Liberals as the Conservatives’ main rival. The Liberal Party went into decrease after 1918 and by the 1950s won no more than six seats at general elections.
At the 1983 general election, the Alliance won over a quarter of the vote, however just 23 of the 650 seats it objected to. At the 1987 general election, its share of the vote fell below 23% and the Liberals and Social Democratic Party combined in 1988 to form the Liberal Democrats.
Popular intellectuals connected with the Liberal Party include the theorist John Stuart Mill, the economic expert John Maynard Keynes and social planner 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 originally to get more power for themselves, the more idealistic Whigs slowly concerned support an expansion of democracy for its own sake. The great figures of reformist Whiggery were Charles James Fox (passed away 1806) and his disciple and successor Earl Grey. After decades in opposition, the Whigs went back to power under Grey in 1830 and brought 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 an organized middle class liberalism and the end of Whiggery, although for several years reforming aristocrats held senior positions in the party. In the years after Grey’s retirement, the party was led first by Lord Melbourne, a relatively conventional Whig, and then by Lord John Russell, the son of a Duke however a crusading radical, and by Lord Palmerston, a renegade Irish Tory and basically a conservative, although capable of radical gestures.
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The leading Radicals were John Bright and Richard Cobden, who represented the production towns which had actually gotten representation under the Reform Act. They favoured social reform, personal liberty, decreasing the powers of the Crown and the Church of England (lots of Liberals were Nonconformists), avoidance of war and foreign alliances (which were bad for organisation) and above all complimentary trade.
In 1841, the Liberals lost office to the Conservatives under Sir Robert Peel, however their duration in opposition was short since the Conservatives divided over the repeal of the Corn Laws, a totally free trade concern; and a faction called the Peelites (however not Peel himself, who passed away 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 many of these federal governments. The official foundation of the Liberal Party is generally traced to 1859 and the development of Palmerston’s 2nd government. Nevertheless, the Whig-Radical amalgam might not become a real modern political party while it was dominated by aristocrats and it was not until the departure of the “2 Awful Old Men”, Russell and Palmerston, that Gladstone might become the very first leader of the modern Liberal Party.
After a quick Conservative government (throughout which the Second Reform Act was passed by contract between the celebrations), Gladstone won a big victory at the 1868 election and formed the very first Liberal government. The establishment of the party as a nationwide subscription organisation included the foundation of the National Liberal Federation in 1877.
For the next thirty years Gladstone and Liberalism were associated. William Ewart Gladstone worked as prime minister four times (186874, 188085, 1886, and 189294). His monetary policies, based upon the concept of balanced budgets, low taxes and, were suited to a developing capitalist society, however they might not respond successfully as economic and social conditions altered.
Deeply religious, Gladstone brought a brand-new moral tone to politics, with his evangelical perceptiveness and his opposition to aristocracy. His moralism frequently outraged his upper-class opponents (consisting of Queen Victoria), and his heavy-handed control divided the Liberal Party. In diplomacy, Gladstone remained in general versus foreign entanglements, however he did not resist the truths of imperialism.
His goal was to create a European order based upon co-operation instead of conflict and on shared trust rather of competition and suspicion; the rule of law was to supplant the reign of force and self-interest. This Gladstonian concept of a harmonious Concert of Europe was opposed to and ultimately defeated by a Bismarckian system of controlled alliances and antagonisms.