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The Liberal Celebration was among the 2 major political parties in the United Kingdom with the opposing Conservative Celebration in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The celebration arose 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 formed four governments under William Gladstone.
Under prime ministers Henry Campbell-Bannerman (19051908) and H. H. Asquith (19081916), the Liberal Celebration passed the welfare reforms that created a fundamental British welfare state. Although Asquith was the celebration’s leader, its dominant figure was David Lloyd George. Asquith was overwhelmed by the wartime role of union prime minister and Lloyd George replaced him as prime minister in late 1916, however Asquith remained as Liberal Celebration leader.
In The Oxford Companion 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 coverage, joblessness insurance coverage, and old-age pensions, mostly paid for by taxes on high earnings and on the land).
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The federal government of Lloyd George was dominated by the Conservative Celebration, which finally deposed him in 1922. By the end of the 1920s, the Labour Celebration had replaced the Liberals as the Conservatives’ primary rival. The Liberal Celebration went into decline after 1918 and by the 1950s won no greater than 6 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 contested. At the 1987 general election, its share of the vote fell below 23% and the Liberals and Social Democratic Celebration combined in 1988 to form the Liberal Democrats.
Prominent intellectuals associated with the Liberal Celebration include the theorist John Stuart Mill, the economic expert John Maynard Keynes and social coordinator William Beveridge. The Liberal Celebration grew out of the Whigs, who had their origins in an noble 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 acquire more power for themselves, the more optimistic Whigs slowly pertained to support a growth of democracy for its own sake. The great figures of reformist Whiggery were Charles James Fox (died 1806) and his disciple and successor Earl Grey. After years in opposition, the Whigs went back 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 Home of Commons led eventually to the advancement of an organized 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 relatively conventional Whig, and after that by Lord John Russell, the child of a Duke however a crusading radical, and by Lord Palmerston, a renegade Irish Tory and essentially a conservative, although capable of radical 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, 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 business) and above all open market.
In 1841, the Liberals lost office to the Conservatives under Sir Robert Peel, however their duration in opposition was short because the Conservatives split over the repeal of the Corn Laws, an open market concern; and a faction called the Peelites (however not Peel himself, who died soon 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 foundation of the Liberal Celebration is traditionally traced to 1859 and the development of Palmerston’s 2nd federal government. However, the Whig-Radical amalgam could not end up being a true contemporary political celebration while it was dominated by aristocrats and it was not till the departure of the “Two Horrible Old Male”, Russell and Palmerston, that Gladstone could end up being the very first leader of the contemporary Liberal Celebration.
After a brief Conservative federal government (during which the Second Reform Act was passed by agreement between the parties), Gladstone won a big triumph at the 1868 election and formed the very first Liberal federal government. The facility of the celebration as a nationwide membership 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 four times (186874, 188085, 1886, and 189294). His financial policies, based upon the concept of well balanced budgets, low taxes and, were suited to an establishing capitalist society, however they could not react successfully as economic and social conditions changed.
Deeply spiritual, Gladstone brought a new moral tone to politics, with his evangelical perceptiveness and his opposition to upper class. His moralism typically outraged his upper-class opponents (including Queen Victoria), and his heavy-handed control split the Liberal Celebration. In diplomacy, Gladstone was in general against foreign entanglements, however he did not withstand the truths of imperialism.
His goal was to create a European order based upon co-operation instead of conflict and on mutual trust rather of rivalry and suspicion; the rule of law was to supplant the reign of force and self-interest. This Gladstonian idea of a harmonious Concert of Europe was opposed to and eventually defeated by a Bismarckian system of controlled alliances and antagonisms.