Wednesday, October 11, 2017

A) Explain Why The Liberal Party Achieved A Landslide Victory In The 1906 Election (12 Marks)

a) Explain why the liberal party achieved a landslide victory in the 1906 election (12 marks) There are several reasons why the liberals won the general election of 1906. The first being due to the changes in the social and political structure of the country. The three reform acts from 1832-1844/5 allowed more adult men to vote and by 1885 a majority of voters were working class. This meant that political partied needed to appeal to this group if they were to stand any chance of winning a general election.

There were changes to the voting system with less and less people able to vote more than once, boroughs and counties were treated more equally and constituencies were made more equal sizes. In 1872 there was also the introduction of the ballet boxes which aimed to keep the electorates vote a secret which along with the 1883 corrupt and illegal practises act reduced briberies. Secondly the Boer War also had an effect on the general election of 1906; Joseph Chamberlains appointment as colonial secretary whose Job it was to strengthen the empire.

South Africa was mportant in these plans as it had the most valuable land on the continent not only because of its prime trading location but also because of the recently discovered goldfield''s. Agreements in 1881 and 1884 gave the Boer states independence but they faced interference from imperialist Britain which escalated hostilities. These and other factors eventually led to war with the Boer states. Views were split on the subject but as the war went on the Conservatives were being increasingly blamed for their military incompetence.

The war also allowed the Liberals to start a revival as it ook views off the internal cracks in the party and gave it a united front as most Liberals disagreed with the war. The Boer War created other issues for conservatives. There were Chinese workers in South Africa and despite the Conservative government having little to do with it the Liberals could portray them as exploiters of workers. due to the long hours, poor pay and lack of rights they had. This harmed the Conservatives reputation with middle class voters because of the humanitarian issues but more importantly badly damaged their reputation with working class.

Thirdly another major event that had an impact on the election was the retirement of Lord Salisbury who had been so influential in the revival of the Conservatives and the alliance with the Liberal Unionists. Salisbury''s successor, Balfour can be seen as another reason for the revival of the Liberal Party. As soon as Balfour was appointed the Unionist alliance began to break. The first reason was the 1902 education act. This angered non-conformists as if there was Church of England or Catholic school in the area they lived in they would in part directly fund it.

This not only provided the Liberals with support from the non-conformists but also angered many of the non- conformist Liberals in the Liberal Unionist Party. Balfour is also partly to blame for Chamberlains attempt to implement the tariff reform in 1903. Although Balfour had to many people questioning his authority. This controversial policy split the unionist alliance so much so that many voters turned to the Liberals. b) The constitutional crisis in the years 1909-1911 strengthened the liberal party explain why you agree/ disagree with this view (24 marks)

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