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The Liberal Party : triumph and disintegration, 1886-1929

Author: G R Searle
Publisher: New York : St. Martin's Press, 1992.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
In the course of the 1920s the Liberal Party disappeared as a serious party of government, though its demise followed hard upon one of its greatest periods of success. For many years historians have struggled to make sense of this strange story. Some see the Party's collapse as the consequence of a deep moral or ideological crisis, a loss of belief in Liberalism as a creed; the impact of the Great War, in  Read more...
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Details

Genre/Form: History
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: G R Searle
ISBN: 0312080395 9780312080396
OCLC Number: 25201781
Description: vi, 234 pages ; 23 cm
Contents: The Rise of the Liberal Party --
The Assault on Feudalism, 1886-1905 --
The 'Problem of Labour', 1886-1905 --
The Radicals in Office, 1905-14 --
Liberalism, Labour and Social Reform, 1905-14 --
The Liberals, Women's Suffrage and the Women's Vote --
Liberalism and the Great War --
The 1920s.
Responsibility: G.R. Searle.

Abstract:

In the course of the 1920s the Liberal Party disappeared as a serious party of government, though its demise followed hard upon one of its greatest periods of success. For many years historians have struggled to make sense of this strange story. Some see the Party's collapse as the consequence of a deep moral or ideological crisis, a loss of belief in Liberalism as a creed; the impact of the Great War, in particular, is said to have done irreparable damage to its adherents' self-confidence. Other historians think that the Liberals were replaced by Labour as a direct consequence of the growing importance of class divisions though there is no clear agreement about when this important transition took place. Yet another approach is to emphasize matters of accident and individual personality. Would the Liberal Party, for example, have floundered so badly in the 1890s but for Gladstone's sudden adoption of Home Rule? Might Liberalism not perhaps have bounced back in the 1920s but for its leaders' fateful mistake of putting Labour into office in early 1924? The Liberals seem also to have inflicted deep injury on their own Party by the quarrels which rent the leadership in the 1890s and still more by the implacable vendetta waged between the followers of Asquith and Lloyd George after 1916. This book provides a balanced survey of the rich literature which has grown up around this important topic. It introduces readers to the major lines of interpretation and suggests ways in which seemingly divergent accounts might be reconciled.

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