1865 United Kingdom general election
The 1865 United Kingdom general election saw the Liberals, led by Lord Palmerston, increase their large majority over the Earl of Derby's Conservatives to more than 80. The Whig Party changed its name to the Liberal Party between this one. Palmerston was succeeded by Lord John Russell as Prime Minister. Despite the Liberal majority, the party was divided by the issue of further parliamentary reform, Russell resigned after being defeated in a vote in the House of Commons in 1866, leading to minority Conservative governments under Derby and Benjamin Disraeli; this was the last United Kingdom general election where a party increased its majority after having been returned to office at the previous election with a reduced majority. The 1865 general election was regarded by contemporaries as being a dull contest nationally, which exaggerated the degree of corruption within individual constituencies. In his PhD thesis, Cornelius O'Leary described The Times as having reported "the testimony is unanimous that in the General Election of 1865 there was more profuse and corrupt expenditure than was known before".
As a result of allegations of corruption, 50 election petitions were lodged, of which 35 were pressed to a trial. In four cases a Royal Commission had to be appointed because of widespread corrupt practices in the constituency; as a result, when he became Prime Minister in 1867, Benjamin Disraeli announced that he would introduce a new method for election petition trials, which were determined by a committee of the House of Commons, resulting in the Parliamentary Elections Act 1868, whereby two Judges of the Court of Common Pleas, Exchequer of Pleas or Queen's Bench would be designated to try election petitions with full judicial salaries. Source: Rallings & Thrasher, pp. 8–9 Spartacus: Political Parties and Election Results
Irish nationalism is a nationalist ideology which asserts that the Irish people are a nation and espouses the creation of a sovereign Irish nation-state on the island of Ireland. It grew more potent during the period in which the whole of Ireland was part of United Kingdom, which lead to most of the island seceding from the UK in 1921. Politically, Irish nationalism gave way to many factions which created conflict violent, throughout the island; the chief division affecting nationalism in Ireland was religious. The majority of the island's population was Roman Catholic, the part that seceded, but a portion of the northern part has a Protestant majority that elected to stay a part of the United Kingdom. Since the partition of Ireland, the term Irish nationalism refers to support for the island's unification. Irish nationalists assert. Irish nationalism speaks to celebration of the culture of Ireland the Irish language, literature and sports. Irish nationalism is regarded as having emerged following the Renaissance revival of the concept of the patria and the religious struggle between the ideology of the Protestant Reformation and the Catholic Counter-Reformation.
At this early stage in the 16th century, Irish nationalism represented an ideal of the native Gaelic Irish and the Old English banding together in common cause, under the banner of Catholicism and Irish civic identity, hoping to protect their land and interests from the New English Protestant forces sponsored by England. This vision sought to overcome the old ethnic divide between Gaeil and Gaill, a feature of Irish life since the 12th century. Protestantism in England introduced a religious element to the 16th century Tudor conquest of Ireland, as many of the native Gaels and Hiberno-Normans remained Catholic; the Plantations of Ireland dispossessed many native Catholic landowners in favour of Protestant settlers from England and Scotland. In addition, the Plantation of Ulster, begun in 1609, "planted" a sizeable population of English and Scottish Protestant settlers into the north of Ireland. Irish aristocrats waged many campaigns against the English presence. A prime example is the rebellion of Hugh O'Neill which became known as the Nine Years War of 1594–1603, which aimed to expel the English and make Ireland a Spanish protectorate.
A more significant movement came in the 1640s, after the Irish Rebellion of 1641, when a coalition of Gaelic Irish and Old English Catholics set up a de facto independent Irish state to fight in the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. The Confederate Catholics of Ireland known as the Confederation of Kilkenny, emphasised the idea of Ireland as a Kingdom independent from England, albeit under the same monarch, they demanded autonomy for the Irish Parliament, full rights for Catholics and an end to the confiscation of Catholic-owned land. The Cromwellian conquest of Ireland destroyed the Confederate cause and resulted in the permanent dispossession of the old Catholic landowning class. A similar Irish Catholic monarchist movement emerged in the 1680s and 1690s, when Irish Catholic Jacobites supported James II after his deposition in England in the Glorious Revolution of 1688–1689; the Jacobites demanded that Irish Catholics have a majority in an autonomous Irish Parliament, the restoration of confiscated Catholic land, an Irish-born Lord Deputy of Ireland.
To the Confederates of the 1640s, the Jacobites were conscious of representing the "Irish nation", but were not separatists and represented the interests of the landed class as opposed to all the Irish people. Like the Confederates, they suffered defeat, in the Williamite War in Ireland. Thereafter, the English Protestant Ascendancy dominated Irish government and landholding; the Penal Laws discriminated against non-Anglicans. This coupling of religious and ethnic identity – principally Roman Catholic and Gaelic – as well as a consciousness of dispossession and defeat at the hands of British and Protestant forces, became enduring features of Irish nationalism. However, the Irish Catholic movements of the 16th century were invariably led by a small landed and clerical elite. Professor Kevin Whelan has traced the emergence of the modern Catholic-nationalist identity that formed in 1760–1830. Irish historian Marc Caball, on the other hand, claims that "early modern Irish nationalism" began to be established after the Flight of the Earls, based on the concepts of "the indivisibility of Gaelic cultural integrity, territorial sovereignty, the interlinking of Gaelic identity with profession of the Roman Catholic faith".
The Protestant Parliament of Ireland of the eighteenth century called for more autonomy from the British Parliament – the repeal of Poynings' Law, which allowed the latter to legislate for Ireland. They were supported by popular sentiment that came from the various publications of William Molyneux about Irish constitutional independence. Parliamentarians who wanted more self-government formed the Irish Patriot Party, led by Henry Grattan, who achieved substantial legislative independence in 1782–83. Grattan and radical elements of the'Irish Whig' party campaigned in the 1790s for Catholic political equality and a reform of electoral rights, he wanted useful links with Britain to remain, best understood by his comment:'The channel forbids union. Grattan's movement was notable for being both inclusive and nationalist as
1880 United Kingdom general election
The 1880 United Kingdom general election was a general election in the United Kingdom held from 31 March to 27 April 1880. Intense rhetoric of the election was provided by the Midlothian campaign of the Liberals, led by the fierce oratory of Liberal leader William Ewart Gladstone. Gladstone vehemently attacked the foreign policy of the government of Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield, as utterly immoral; the Liberals secured one of their largest-ever majorities in the election, leaving the Conservatives a distant second. As a result of the campaign, the Liberal leaders, Lord Hartington and Lord Granville, withdrew in favour of Gladstone, who thus became Prime Minister a second time; the Conservative government was doomed by the poor condition of the British economy and the vulnerability of its foreign policy to moralistic attacks by the Liberals. Gladstone, appealing to moralistic evangelicals, led the attack on the foreign policy of Disraeli as immoral. Historian Paul Smith paraphrases the rhetorical tone which focused on attacking "Beaconsfieldism" as a:Sinister system of policy, which not involved the country in immoral and expensive external adventures, inimical to peace and to the rights of small peoples, but aimed at nothing less than the subversion of parliamentary government in favour of some simulacrum of the oriental despotism its creator was alleged to admire.
Smith notes that there was indeed some substance to the allegations, but: "Most of this was partisan extravaganza, worthy of its target's own excursions against the Whigs." Disraeli himself was now the Earl of Beaconsfield in the House of Lords, custom did not allow peers to campaign. His party was unable to deal with the rhetorical onslaught. Although he had improved the organisation of the Conservative Party, Disraeli was based in the rural gentry, had little contact with or understanding of the urban middle class, dominating his party. Besides issues of foreign policy more important thing Conservatives were unable to defend their economic record on the home front; the 1870s coincided with a long term global depression caused by the collapse of the worldwide railway boom of the 1870s, so profitable to Britain. The stress was growing by the late 1870s; the free trade system supported by both parties made Britain defenceless against the flood of cheap wheat from North America, exacerbated by the worst harvest of the century in Britain in 1879.
The party in power got the blame, Liberals emphasised the growing budget deficit as a measure of bad stewardship. In the election itself, Disraeli's party lost up and down the line in Scotland and Ireland, in the urban boroughs, his Conservative strength fell from 351 to 238, while the Liberals jumped from 250 to 353. Disraeli resigned on 21 April 1880. Spartacus: Political Parties and Election Results
1885 United Kingdom general election
The 1885 United Kingdom general election was held from 24 November to 18 December 1885. This was the first general election after an extension of the redistribution of seats. For the first time a majority of adult males could vote and most constituencies by law returned a single member to Parliament fulfilling one of the ideals of Chartism to provide direct single-member, single-electorate accountability, it saw the Liberals, led by William Ewart Gladstone, win the most seats, but not an overall majority. As the Irish Nationalists held the balance of power between them and the Conservatives who sat with an increasing number of allied Unionist MPs, this exacerbated divisions within the Liberals over Irish Home Rule and led to a Liberal split and another general election the following year; the 1885 election saw the first socialist party participate, with the Social Democratic Federation led by H. M. Hyndman running three candidates. List of MPs elected in the United Kingdom general election, 1885 Parliamentary franchise in the United Kingdom 1885–1918 Representation of the People Act 1884 Redistribution of Seats Act 1885 Craig, F. W. S.
British Electoral Facts: 1832–1987, Dartmouth: Gower, ISBN 0900178302 Rallings, Colin. British Electoral Facts 1832–1999, Ashgate Publishing Ltd Walker, Brian, "The 1885 and 1886 General Elections in Ireland", History Ireland, 13: 36–40, JSTOR 27725365 Spartacus: Political Parties and Election Results United Kingdom election results—summary results 1885–1979
Liberal Party (UK)
The Liberal Party was one of the two major parties in the United Kingdom with the opposing Conservative Party in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The party arose from an alliance of Whigs and free trade Peelites and Radicals favourable to the ideals of the American and French Revolutions in the 1850s. By the end of the 19th century, it had formed four governments under William Gladstone. Despite being divided over the issue of Irish Home Rule, the party returned to government in 1905 and won a landslide victory in the following year's general election. Under Prime Ministers Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman and H. H. Asquith, the Liberal Party passed the welfare reforms that created a basic British welfare state. Although Asquith was the party's leader, its dominant figure was David Lloyd George. Asquith was overwhelmed by the wartime role of coalition Prime Minister and Lloyd George replaced him as Prime Minister in late 1916, but Asquith remained as Liberal Party leader; the pair fought for years over control of the party.
Historian Martin Pugh in The Oxford Companion to British History argues: Lloyd George made a greater impact on British public life than any other 20th-century leader, thanks to his pre-war introduction of Britain's social welfare system. Furthermore, in foreign affairs, he played a leading role in winning the First World War, redrawing the map of Europe at the peace conference, partitioning Ireland; the government of Lloyd George was dominated by the Conservative Party, which deposed him in 1922. By the end of the 1920s, the Labour Party had replaced the Liberals as the Conservatives' main rival; the party went into decline after 1918 and by the 1950s won no more than six seats at general elections. Apart from notable by-election victories, its fortunes did not improve until it formed the SDP–Liberal Alliance with the newly formed Social Democratic Party in 1981. 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 below 23% and the Liberal and Social Democratic parties merged in 1988 to form the Liberal Democrats.
A splinter group reconstituted the Liberal Party in 1989. It was formed by party members opposed to the merger who saw the Liberal Democrats diluting Liberal ideals. Prominent intellectuals associated with the Liberal Party include the philosopher John Stuart Mill, the economist John Maynard Keynes and social planner William Beveridge; the Liberal Party grew out of the Whigs, who had their origins in an aristocratic faction in the reign of Charles II and the early 19th century Radicals. The Whigs were in favour of increasing the power of Parliament. Although their motives in this were to gain more power for themselves, the more idealistic Whigs came to support an expansion of democracy for its own sake; the great figures of reformist Whiggery were Charles James Fox and his disciple and successor Earl Grey. After decades in opposition, the Whigs returned to power under Grey in 1830 and carried the First Reform Act in 1832; the Reform Act was the climax of Whiggism, but it brought about the Whigs' demise.
The admission of the middle classes to the franchise and to the House of Commons led to the development of a systematic middle class liberalism and the end of Whiggery, although for many years reforming aristocrats held senior positions in the party. In the years after Grey's retirement, the party was led first by Lord Melbourne, a traditional Whig, by Lord John Russell, the son of a Duke but a crusading radical, by Lord Palmerston, a renegade Irish Tory and a conservative, although capable of radical gestures; as early as 1839, Russell had adopted the name of "Liberals", but in reality his party was a loose coalition of Whigs in the House of Lords and Radicals in the Commons. 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, reducing the powers of the Crown and the Church of England, avoidance of war and foreign alliances and above all free trade.
For a century, free trade remained the one cause. In 1841, the Liberals lost office to the Conservatives under Sir Robert Peel, but their period in opposition was short because the Conservatives split over the repeal of the Corn Laws, a free trade issue; this allowed ministries led by Russell and the Peelite Lord Aberdeen to hold office for most of the 1850s and 1860s. A leading Peelite was William Ewart Gladstone, a reforming Chancellor of the Exchequer in most of these governments; the formal foundation of the Liberal Party is traditionally traced to 1859 and the formation of Palmerston's second government. However, the Whig-Radical amalgam could not become a true modern political party while it was dominated by aristocrats and it was not until the departure of the "Two Terrible Old Men", Russell and Palmerston, that Gladstone could become the first leader of the modern Liberal Party; this was brought about by Palmerston's death in 1865 and Russell's retirement in 1868. After a brief Conservative government, Gladstone won a huge victory at the 1868 election and formed the first Liberal government.
Benjamin Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield, was a British statesman of the Conservative Party who twice served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. He played a central role in the creation of the modern Conservative Party, defining its policies and its broad outreach. Disraeli is remembered for his influential voice in world affairs, his political battles with the Liberal Party leader William Ewart Gladstone, his one-nation conservatism or "Tory democracy", he made the Conservatives the party most identified with the power of the British Empire. He is the only British prime minister to have been of Jewish birth, he was a novelist, publishing works of fiction as prime minister. Disraeli was born in Bloomsbury a part of Middlesex, his father left Judaism after a dispute at his synagogue. After several unsuccessful attempts, Disraeli entered the House of Commons in 1837. In 1846 the Prime Minister at the time, Sir Robert Peel, split the party over his proposal to repeal the Corn Laws, which involved ending the tariff on imported grain.
Disraeli clashed with Peel in the House of Commons. Disraeli became a major figure in the party; when Lord Derby, the party leader, thrice formed governments in the 1850s and 1860s, Disraeli served as Chancellor of the Exchequer and Leader of the House of Commons. Upon Derby's retirement in 1868, Disraeli became Prime Minister before losing that year's general election, he returned to the Opposition, before leading the party to winning a majority in the 1874 general election. He maintained a close friendship with Queen Victoria, who in 1876 appointed him Earl of Beaconsfield. Disraeli's second term was dominated by the Eastern Question—the slow decay of the Ottoman Empire and the desire of other European powers, such as Russia, to gain at its expense. Disraeli arranged for the British to purchase a major interest in the Suez Canal Company. In 1878, faced with Russian victories against the Ottomans, he worked at the Congress of Berlin to obtain peace in the Balkans at terms favourable to Britain and unfavourable to Russia, its longstanding enemy.
This diplomatic victory over Russia established Disraeli as one of Europe's leading statesmen. World events thereafter moved against the Conservatives. Controversial wars in Afghanistan and South Africa undermined his public support, he angered British farmers by refusing to reinstitute the Corn Laws in response to poor harvests and cheap imported grain. With Gladstone conducting a massive speaking campaign, his Liberals bested Disraeli's Conservatives at the 1880 general election. In his final months, Disraeli led the Conservatives in Opposition, he had throughout his career written novels, beginning in 1826, he published his last completed novel, shortly before he died at the age of 76. Disraeli was born on 21 December 1804 at 6 King's Road, Bedford Row, London, the second child and eldest son of Isaac D'Israeli, a literary critic and historian, Maria, née Basevi; the family was of Sephardic Jewish Italian mercantile background. All Disraeli's grandparents and great-grandparents were born in Italy.
Disraeli romanticised his origins, claiming that his father's family was of grand Spanish and Venetian descent. Historians differ on Disraeli's motives for rewriting his family history: Bernard Glassman argues that it was intended to give him status comparable to that of England's ruling elite. Disraeli's siblings were Sarah, Naphtali and James, he was close to his sister, on affectionate but more distant terms with his surviving brothers. Details of his schooling are sketchy. From the age of about six he was a day boy at a dame school in Islington that one of his biographers described as "for those days a high-class establishment". Two years or so—the exact date has not been ascertained—he was sent as a boarder to Rev John Potticary's St Piran's school at Blackheath. While he was there events at the family home changed the course of Disraeli's education and of his whole life: his father renounced Judaism and had the four children baptised into the Church of England in July and August 1817. Isaac D'Israeli had never taken religion seriously, but had remained a conforming member of the Bevis Marks Synagogue.
His father, the elder Benjamin, was a devout member. After Benjamin senior died in 1816 Isaac felt free to leave the congregation following a second dispute. Isaac's friend Sharon Turner, a solicitor, convinced him that although he could comfortably remain unattached to any formal religion it would be disadvantageous to the children if they did so. Turner stood as godfather when Benjamin was baptised, aged twelve, on 31 July 1817. Conversion to Christianity enabled Disraeli to contemplate a career in politics. Britain in the early-nineteenth century was not a anti-Semitic society, there had been Members of Parliament from Jewish families since Samson Gideon in 1770, but until 1858, MPs were required to take the oath of allegiance "on the true faith of a Christian", necessitating at least nominal conversion. It is not known whether Disraeli formed any ambition for a parliamentary career at