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The Liberal Party was among the 2 major political parties in the UK with the opposing Conservative Party in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The celebration occurred from an alliance of Whigs and open market- supporting Peelites and the reformist Radicals in the 1850s. By the end of the 19th century, it had actually 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 created a basic British welfare state. Although Asquith was the celebration’s leader, its dominant figure was David Lloyd George. Asquith was overwhelmed by the wartime function of union prime minister and Lloyd George replaced him as prime minister in late 1916, but 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, mainly 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 replaced the Liberals as the Conservatives’ primary competitor. The Liberal Party entered into decline after 1918 and by the 1950s won no more than 6 seats at general elections.
At the 1983 general election, the Alliance won over a quarter of the vote, but only 23 of the 650 seats it contested. At the 1987 general 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.
Prominent intellectuals associated with the Liberal Party include the theorist John Stuart Mill, the financial expert John Maynard Keynes and social organizer William Beveridge. The Liberal Party outgrew the Whigs, who had their origins in an aristocratic 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 gain more power on their own, the more idealistic Whigs slowly came to 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 years in opposition, the Whigs returned 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 advancement of a methodical middle class liberalism and completion of Whiggery, although for lots of years reforming aristocrats held senior positions in the celebration. In the years after Grey’s retirement, the celebration was led initially by Lord Melbourne, a fairly 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 radical gestures.
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The leading Radicals were John Bright and Richard Cobden, who represented the production towns which had actually acquired representation under the Reform Act. They favoured social reform, personal liberty, minimizing 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 open market.
In 1841, the Liberals lost office to the Conservatives under Sir Robert Peel, but their period in opposition was short because the Conservatives divided over the repeal of the Corn Laws, an open market issue; and a faction understood as the Peelites (but not Peel himself, who died right 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 governments. The official foundation of the Liberal Party is typically traced to 1859 and the development of Palmerston’s 2nd government. However, the Whig-Radical amalgam could not end up being a real modern political celebration while it was dominated by aristocrats and it was not until the departure of the “2 Dreadful Old Male”, Russell and Palmerston, that Gladstone could end up being the first leader of the modern Liberal Party.
After a short Conservative government (throughout which the Second Reform Act was passed by agreement between the parties), Gladstone won a big triumph at the 1868 election and formed the first Liberal government. The establishment of the celebration as a national membership organisation included the foundation 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 on the notion of balanced budget plans, low taxes and, were fit to an establishing capitalist society, but they could not react effectively as financial and social conditions altered.
Deeply spiritual, Gladstone brought a new ethical tone to politics, with his evangelical perceptiveness and his opposition to upper class. His moralism often angered his upper-class challengers (including Queen Victoria), and his heavy-handed control divided the Liberal Party. In diplomacy, Gladstone was in general against foreign entanglements, but he did not resist the truths of imperialism.
His objective was to produce a European order based on co-operation instead of dispute and on mutual 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 Performance of Europe was opposed to and ultimately defeated by a Bismarckian system of controlled alliances and antagonisms.