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The Liberal Party was one of the two major political celebrations in the United Kingdom with the opposing Conservative Party in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The party developed from an alliance of Whigs and totally free trade- supporting Peelites and the reformist Radicals in the 1850s. By the end of the 19th century, it had formed 4 federal governments under William Gladstone.
Under prime ministers Henry Campbell-Bannerman (19051908) and H. H. Asquith (19081916), the Liberal Party passed the well-being reforms that developed a standard British well-being state. Although Asquith was the party’s leader, its dominant figure was David Lloyd George. Asquith was overwhelmed by the wartime role of union 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 well-being system (specifically medical insurance, unemployment insurance, and old-age pensions, mainly paid 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 finally deposed him in 1922. By the end of the 1920s, the Labour Party had changed the Liberals as the Conservatives’ main competitor. The Liberal Party entered into decrease after 1918 and by the 1950s won no greater than 6 seats at basic elections.
At the 1983 basic election, the Alliance won over a quarter of the vote, however just 23 of the 650 seats it contested. At the 1987 basic election, its share of the vote fell below 23% and the Liberals and Social Democratic Party combined in 1988 to form the Liberal Democrats.
Prominent intellectuals connected with the Liberal Party consist of the philosopher 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 initially to gain more power for themselves, the more idealistic Whigs slowly came to support an expansion of democracy for its own sake. The excellent 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 Home of Commons led eventually to the advancement of an organized middle class liberalism and the end of Whiggery, although for numerous 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 fairly standard Whig, and after that by Lord John Russell, the boy of a Duke however a crusading radical, and by Lord Palmerston, a renegade Irish Tory and essentially a conservative, although capable of extreme gestures.
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The leading Radicals were John Bright and Richard Cobden, who represented the manufacturing towns which had gained representation under the Reform Act. They favoured social reform, individual liberty, reducing the powers of the Crown and the Church of England (numerous Liberals were Nonconformists), avoidance of war and foreign alliances (which were bad for business) and above all totally free trade.
In 1841, the Liberals lost office to the Conservatives under Sir Robert Peel, however their period in opposition was brief because the Conservatives split over the repeal of the Corn Laws, an open market concern; and a faction referred to as the Peelites (however not Peel himself, who passed away quickly 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 federal governments. The official foundation of the Liberal Party is typically traced to 1859 and the development of Palmerston’s 2nd government. Nevertheless, the Whig-Radical amalgam could not become a true modern political party while it was controlled by aristocrats and it was not until the departure of the “Two Terrible Old Men”, Russell and Palmerston, that Gladstone could become the very first leader of the modern Liberal Party.
After a brief Conservative government (throughout which the Second Reform Act was gone by agreement 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 featured the foundation of the National Liberal Federation in 1877.
For the next thirty years Gladstone and Liberalism were associated. William Ewart Gladstone functioned as prime minister 4 times (186874, 188085, 1886, and 189294). His monetary policies, based upon the idea of balanced budget plans, low taxes and, were matched to a developing capitalist society, however they could not respond effectively as economic and social conditions altered.
Deeply spiritual, Gladstone brought a new ethical tone to politics, with his evangelical sensibility and his opposition to upper class. His moralism frequently angered his upper-class challengers (including Queen Victoria), and his heavy-handed control split the Liberal Party. In foreign policy, Gladstone remained in basic against foreign entanglements, however he did not resist the realities of imperialism.
His goal was to create a European order based upon co-operation instead of dispute and on mutual trust instead of competition and suspicion; the rule of law was to supplant the reign of force and self-interest. This Gladstonian concept of a harmonious Show of Europe was opposed to and ultimately defeated by a Bismarckian system of manipulated alliances and antagonisms.