History - Liberals and The Conservatives 1846-95

  • Period: to

    Liberals and Conservatives

  • The Great Reform Bill

    • extension of the vote to male £10 householders
    • effectively gave franchise to the middle classes, eg. shopkeepers
    • abolished some of the smallest borough seats and partially redistributed them to the new industrial north towns
    • previously only 6% of male pop. could vote
    • middle classes owed vote to whigs
    • passed by Whig
    • introduced by Earl Grey
  • Factory Act

    • restricted hours of women and children in factories
  • Sir Robert Peel = leader of conservatives

    • replaced the Duke of Wellington
    • tories would accept change where it could be proven to be beneficial to the country
  • Poor Law Act

  • Municipal Coorporations Act

    • town councils, better organised, set up by gov.
    • all men who paid rates were entitled to vote
  • Disraeli's Maiden Speech

    • laughed at
    • 'I will sit down now but the time will come when you will hear me'
  • PM = Peel 1841-6

    • Peel didn't give Disreali office, bred resentment/anger/bitterness in Dis.
    • Peel gave Gladstone cabinet status in 1843
  • 'Sybil'' published

    • talked of the two nations (rich and poor)
  • Repeal of corn Laws first proposed

    • Derby = first minister to resign from Peel's cabinet
  • PM = Russell(Whig) 1846-52

    • formed after fall of Peel
    • general election held in 1847 which confirmed Russell in power, 325 whig/lib/rad, 230 cons, 100 peelites
    • russell = 'finality jack' after insisting 1832 reform was a settlement of the reform question, but rads anticipated more reform
    • Palmerston = foreign secretary
  • The issue of repeal of the Corn Laws

    • peelites (incl. Aberdeen, Glads), Peel refused to ally with Russell's Whigs or his old cons. colleagues
    • protectionists (largest single group in HofC)
    • whigs
    • radicals (not a coherant party)
    • partly due to radical agitation of Anti-Corn Law League
    • seen as a betrayal by Peel, seen as failing to protect the farming industry and the landed interest
    • for 339 (112peels, 227whig/lib/rads
    • agaisnt 242 (protectionist cons)
  • Irish famine

    • failure of the potato crop
    • demanded government reaction
    • Peel decided to suspend corn duties so that grain could flow more freely into Ireland
  • Disraeli's attack on Peel

    • many backbenchers did not want to see Dis in position of authority because of it
  • HofC leader = Bentinck 1846-8

  • Bentinck votes in favour of the removal of the Jewish Disabilities Act

    • criticised and decides to resign, then died 9 months later
  • Sugar Act

    • removed trading privileges of British sugar planters iin the West Indies
  • Chartist movement fades

    • a working class movement that requesated universal male suffrage, its collapse allowed govs to propose parliamentary reform without appearing to give in to Chartist demands
    • suggested extension of the franchise lower down the scale would be safe
  • Repeal of the Navigation Laws

    • overseas traders could use anhy ships they wished to transport their goods abroad
  • Peel abolished the Corn Laws (predecided in 1846)

  • 'The Golden Age'

    • over next 20 years = high time for british farming
  • Don Pacifico Affair

    • Gladstone didn't like Palermston's agression
    • DP asked B for help over financial disputes with the Greek gov. because he was born in in gibraltar a British Territory
    • Palmerston supported him
  • Great Exhibition of 1851

    • advertised the importance of british manufacture and internation trading to the world
    • only opposed by a few traditional cons MPs
    • pushed by prince Albert
  • Russell's reform (failed)

    • reduce £10 householder to £6, never got to the vote
  • Religious Census

    • half of total church attendance = nonconformist denominations supported by m/c
    • but whig govs not want to move towards this degree of reform
  • Ecclesiastical Title's Bill

    • illiberal measure
    • prevented RC bishops taking up titles with same name as CofE counterparts
  • Disraeli = leader of cons in HofC

    • due to lack of other good speakers
    • & Chancellor of the Exchequer 1852 (briefly) Derby - 'they give you the figures'
    • conmpeted with Marquess of Granby, J.C. Herries but emerged as natural leader
  • 'Compensation instead of Protection'

    • malt tax/sugar tax reduced
    • income tax extended to cover lower incomes than before
    • Glad convinced HofC to vote against by majority of 19 votes and Derby resigned
  • Russell's reform (failed)

    • dissappeared at fall of the ministry
  • PM = Derby(cons) 1852 (feb. to dec.)

    • no longer officially support protection
    • who?who? ministry - Duke of Wellington (only 3 members had previous gov experience) = minority gov.
  • PM = Aberdeen(whig-peelite) 1852-5

    • identified the supporters of free trade
    • appointed Gladstone as Chancellor of the Exchequer, G produced budgets that lowered tariff duties on a number of goods to encourage trade expansion, wanted to lowerr income tax
    • whigs/peels shared positions equally in the cabinet
  • The Budget of 1853

    • removed duties on 123 items and reduced on 133
  • Russell's reform (failed)

    • dissappeared with the outbreak of the Crimean War
  • Northcote-Trevelyan Report

    • recommended competitive entry
    • not acted upon until many years later (after 1868)
  • Crimean War 1854-6

    • highlighted administrative inefficiencies, lack of communication back home
    • dispute between turkey and russia, britain ingtervened on turkey's side as B had strong trading links with Turkey
  • Repeal of Newspaper Tax

    • growth in popularity of newspapers
    • newspapers cheaply available, political knowledge and discussion spreading to the lower classes
  • PM = Palmerston(whig) 1855-8

  • Repeal of Advertising Tax

  • Abolition of Stamp Duty

    • cheaper press
  • The Arrow Incident

    • dispute over China seizing a vessel flying the British flag near Hong Kong
    • Chinese refused to apologise so Palmerston approved shelling of Canton
    • condemned in Parliametn, censure(condemnation) carried by 263 votes to 247
    • Palmerston dissolved Parliament and was reelected, he was not undone!
  • Palmerston handling of Indian Mutiny 1857/8

    • Indian uprising agaisnt British control
    • Palmerstone supported Lord Canning, gov. general of India
    • his handling of it impressed many
  • PM = Derby(cons) 1858-9

    • 16 month brief conservative control
  • The Orsini Affair

    • Italian nationalist tried to assassinate Napoleon III
    • plot was hatched in england and Nap. III complained that there was no english law which restrained such an activity
    • Palmerston brought in Conspiracy to Murder Bill - defeated in Parliament
    • Palmerston accused of giving in to foreign affairs
  • Reforming the government of India

    • Cons
    • gov take full authority (no East Ind. Trad. Comp.)
    • new post - secretary of state for india
  • PM = Palmerston(lib) 1859-65

    • peelites faded out by this point
  • Reform Bill (disraeli)

    • Derby in favour of it, when it failed he resigned
    • but met resistance from opposition AND own side, ultimately defeated
    • seen as a blatant attempt to gain political advantage, clearly favoured cons.
    • £10 brough franchise extended to counties
    • extension of borough boundaries to include more rural voters
    • £20 lodger vote
    • fancy franchises (coined by J. Bright)
    • limited redistribution of seats
  • The Formation of the Liberal Party

    • Willis' Rooms London
    • non-conservative MPs to unite agaisnt Derbvy's cons gov. and his policy towards 'the question of Italian Unification'
    • not overly important as - didn't change Palmerston's views - lib ideas had already been forming
  • Budget (lib)

    • only 48 items left on the tariff
  • Repeal of the Paper Duty

    • helped give Glads the name 'The People's William' & increased his reputation among journalists
    • coupled with development of the steam press in the 1850s and increase in communication due to the telegrapoh and railways
  • The Alabama dispute

    • Ship built by British attacked on south side agaisnt N in Amer. Civ. war
    • had to pay £3.25mill
  • 'Moral right to vote' speech (Gladstone) 'pale of the Constitution' speech

    • impressed by the way Lancashire cotton workers handled the cotton crisis during the American Civil War, implied that the working class had a moral right to vote
  • Visit of Guiseppe Garibaldi

    • democratic hero on visit to England
    • caused excitement in Radical circles, Palm's gov cut short his tour
    • protest committee complaining about his early departure was formed and became the Reform League
  • PM = Russell(lib) 1865-6

  • Income Tax Reduced

    • 10d to 4d
  • Death of Palmerston

    • Palm's death would bring changes, predicted Gladstone would take over ' when he takes my place there will be strange doings'
  • PM = Derby(cons) 1866-8

  • Reform Bill

    • growth in population
    • greater prosperity of the skilled working class
    • borough franchise £10 to £7
    • extension to counties for rents of over £14
    • fancy franchise
    • modest redistribution
    • vigorous opposition ( some libs)
    • reaction in country when bill was defeated was extreme, Reform League planned demonstartion in Hyde Park, repeated may 1867
    • Lowe (been to australia) warned of 'perils of democracy' - inflamed working class opinion
  • Temporary Depression 1866/7 winter

    • major finance company collapsed May 186
    • poor harvest after wet summer
    • cattle plague
    • major cholera outbreak
    • unemployment
  • Second Reform Act

    • let D succeed as Prime Minister in 1868
    • Derby - 'Leap in the Dark'
    • Dis. wanted to score points on Glad
    • electoral advantage
    • satisfy radicals/reform league pressure/quieten it down
    • sold to cons. with safeguards - personal payment of rates (hodgkinson's amendment, so compound householders ultimately included) - two - year residence qualification (reduced to 1) - fancy franchises (removed)
    • accepted - wanted to see end to reform Q
  • Abolition of Compulsory Church Rate

  • PM = Disraeli(cons) 1868

    • Derby retires in feb
    • 'at last I have reached the top of the greasy pole'
  • PM = Gladstone(lib) 1868-74

    • liberal party united
    • 'my mission is to pacify Ireland'
  • National Union of Conservative Associations set up

    • try to increase support for cons.
  • Disestablishment of Anglican Church in Ireland

    • passed by majority of 118
    • most succesful piece of Glad's Irish leg. as removed a major Irish grievance
  • Female householders granted vote in Municipal Elections

    • began political involvement of women
  • Army Reforms (1869-71)

    • Edward Cardwell
    • abolition of peace time flogging
    • twelve year min reduced to 6 with 6 in the reserves
    • rearmed with Henry Martini rifles (prussians used them)
    • removal of unjustified privilege, abolition of purchase of commisions
  • Irish Land Act

    • compensation for eviction (unless non-payment of rent)
    • limitation on power's of eviction for non-payment if Court judged the rent too high
    • compensation for improvements
    • tenants wanted 3Fs (fixed tenancry, free sale and fair rent) didn't get it.
    • not very satisfactory
  • Education Act 1870

    • Chamberlain = National Education League which wanted non
    • denominational state-aided education.
    • W.E. Forster took it through the HofC Terms:
      • 5-13 all given opportunity to attend school
      • where church/voluntary schools existed they could remain, but no more allowed
      • School Board would raise money and organise equip. etc.
      • could excuse fees for poor parents/make attendance comp
      • religious teaching not in favour of one church
    • but satisfied noone completely
  • Civil Service Act

    • lazy/inefficient civil servatns
    • competitive entrance exam
    • foreign office = exempt as Glad thinks aristocracy must deal with diplomatic things
    • strongly opposed by upper class so order in council used to make it law
  • Neutrality in Franco-Prussian War

    • divided British opinion
  • Trade Union Act

    • protected TU funds
  • Criminal Law Amendment Act reinstated

    • peaceful picketing banned
  • Religious Equality and University Tests Act

    • non-anglicans could now become a professor/master of an oxbridge college
    • no dramatic effect
  • Secret Ballot Act

    • longstanding demand of the radicals
  • Liscensing Act

    • alcohol seen as cause of crime/poverty/violence
    • local authorities would determine opening hours
    • enforcement by police
    • penalties agaisnt tampering with beer
  • Crystal Pale speeches

    • April - Machester Free Trade Hall
    • June - Crystal Palace London
    • outlined Dis' aims and three objects - empire/tradition/elevation
  • Irish Universities Bill

    • Trinity College = protestant atmosphere
    • proposed new, non-denominational university
    • controversial subjects would not be taught e.g. philosophy
    • defeated in HofC, G offered to resign but Dis let him weaken further
  • Judicature Act

    • last major piece of legislation in Glad's ministry
    • represented considerable admininstrative achievement
    • forms the basis of much of the legal system in England today
  • PM = Disraeli(cons) 1874-80

  • Licensing Act

    • Cross
    • Drinking time increased by 30 mins
    • police search powers reduced
    • magistrate's discretion removed
    • Dis' gov. amending unpop G act to gain support
    • gov. intervention had become accepted in this area
  • Factory Act

    • textile factories hours reduce 60 to 56.5 for women
    • child age limit for half time raised to 10yrs, full time to 14
    • Cross
  • Artisan's Dwelling Act 1875

    • Richard Cross
    • local authorities could buy slum housing and build new, cheap housing in its place
    • first ever substantial piece of housing regulation
    • Birmingham = good
    • PERMISSIVE!
    • only 10 authorities used it by 1870s
    • created housing problem in London where housing was demolished without being replaced
  • Friendly Societies Act

    • Northcote
    • FSs could be given actuarial advice
    • FS funds grew, 1891 = 4.2 mil, 1901 = 6.2 mil
  • Sale of Food and Drugs Act

    • Sclater-Booth
    • harmful ingredients forbidden in foods, some drugs banned
    • main piece of leg. until 1928
    • state reg.
    • limited to harmful substances e.g. x salt to beer or water to milk
  • Conspiracy and Protection of Property Act

    • Cross
    • Legalised peaceful picketing
    • please TU leaders/remnoved major grievance
  • Public Health Act

    • Sclater-Booth
    • consolidatory measure
    • Medical Officers of Health
    • seen as triumph of administrative efficiency
    • coupled with pollution of rivers act of 1874, remained basis of public health law until 1920s
  • disraeli's purchase of Suez Canal shares

    • personal triumph for disraeli
    • used rothschild to get the money
  • Merchant Shipping Act

    • Adderley
    • shipowners draw line around vessel to indicate max. load
    • owed to MP Plimsoll
    • step towards greater regulation, but line was drawn by owner
  • Employers and Workmen Act

    • Cross
    • replaced Master and Servant Act with more sensitive names
    • all breaches of contract now dealth with in civil courts, (no longer in criminal for employees)
    • law now treat all classes equally
    • Howell (TU secretary) = satisfied
  • Education Act

    • Sandon
    • 10-14 only leave school if have certificate
    • parliamentary grants for schools could exceed what they themselves had raised
    • education up to 10 now effectively compulsory, more and more exempt from school fees
  • Royal Titles Act

    • show British authority in India was more welcome
    • indicate to russians that an expansion of their empire near India would not be welcome
    • QV = Empress of India
  • Gladstone attacks Dis' foreign policy

    • Dis health = not good
    • 'beaconsfieldism' - Midlothian Campaign, meddling, expensive & unsuccessful British influence abroad
    • gov lost a number of by-elections
  • Gladstone's anti Turkish leaflet

    • britain was interfering again
    • 40,000 copies in first few days
    • divided public opinion
  • National Liberal Federation set up (NLF)

    • organised support for the party
    • ordinary lib members get say in electing management committees
    • helped lib 1880/5 election performance
  • Zulus and the Boers

    • Dis appointed Frere as governor-general of cape colony in South Africa, sim to Lytton
  • Factory Act

    • Cross
    • consolidated all previous legislation
    • abolished factory/workshop distinction
  • The Congress of Berlin

    • revised San Stefano Treaty
    • 'big bulgaria' carved up
    • britain obtained cyprus
    • Dis - 'peace with honour'
  • Civil War in Afghanistan

    • British officials murdered, serious instability
    • Dis's 'foward' policy to blame, as well as his appointment of Lord Lytton
  • Midloathian Campaigns nov/dec

    • Brilliant speeches
  • PM = Gladstone(lib) 1880-5

  • Ground Game Act

    • could shoot rabbit/hare on property despite Landlord's wishes
  • Burials Acts

    • non-conformists can be concecrated in graveyards beside chapel
  • Education Act

    • age 5-10 = compulsory
    • truancy officers
  • The Emplyers Liability Act

    • extended workman's rights for compensation for accidents at work
  • Disraeli Dies

    'for you this is an event, for me it is the end'
  • The women's Property Act

    • legal protection for their property (not automatically husbands)
  • The Corrupt Practices Act

    • defined unlawful practices clearly in voting
    • financial restrictions placed on candidate's election expenses
    • party agents would have to account precisely for their expenses
    • election workers paid a fee for their services to reduce bribery
  • Corrupt Practices Act

  • Agricultural Holdings Act

    • landowners must compensate tenants for improvements if they left
  • Corrupt and Illegal practices act

    • limit on money candidates can use in elections
    • heavy penalty for bribery/corruption
  • Representation of the People Act

    • extended vote to county householders
    • 2.6 mil new voters
    • 40% of male pop still can't vote until 1918
  • PM = Salisbury(cons) 1885-6

  • Redistribution of Seats Act

    • < 15,000 lost both MPs
    • <50,000 lost 1 MP
    • borough boundary commisioners
    • 23/670 remained double seats
  • PM = Gladstone(lib) 1886

  • PM = Salisbury(cons) 1886-92

  • Coercian act

  • PM = Gladstone(lib) 1892-4

  • Second Home Rule Bill

    • 80 Irsih MPs in UK parliament, can vote on matters concerning empire and Ireland