• Created by: amxns
  • Created on: 18-05-17 16:28

Factors that led to conservative loss

The conservatives were in power in till 1906. The Liberals under CB won the election by a landslide victory- 401 LIB SEATS, 157 CONS SEATS. 


1) THE BOER WAR: the methods eg concentration camps British army used to defeat boers caused a moral outcry. Brits thought it was going to be a quick war, in reality, it took 3 years. It exposed the inadequacy of the British army and malnutrition- led to concerns about the physical decline of British race and defence. The conservatives essentially neglected the whole thing.

2) THE 1902 EDUCATION ACT: schools now to be funded by local rates, introduced taxes levied by the local authority to pay for schools. ****** off non-conformists ( a group that didn't agree with CoE) because now they were financing schools they didn't agree with.  

3) THE 1904 LICENCING ACT:  regulate and reduce public houses(pubs). this angered the temperance side of non-conformists because the gov would compensate pub owners for loss of their licences.

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Factors that led to conservative loss p2

4) CHINESE SLAVERY: Chinese labourers imported to south Africa and worked for little wages. caused a moral outcry for the non-conformists because they didn't like the harsh treatment. worried trade unions bc they thought employers would bring them over, in turn, keeping wages low as these people would work for any wage. 

5) TAFF VALE CASE: a dispute between taff vale railway company and the workers. workers went on strike with help of trade union; the company took the TU to courts demanding compensation over a loss of profits during the strike. HoL ruled they had rights to take tu to court because now it made it hard for future tu strikes. the cons could have intervened bc only an act of parliament could overrule a lords judgement, but they didn't lol= hard for tu strikes= tu shift votes to liberal.

6) NEGLECT OF SOCIAL REFORM: the growing extent of poverty was exposed. liberals used the issues above to their advantage. the conservatives didn't do f all whereas the liberals were like yo we got this, emphasised their idea of liberalism= state to play a greater role in people's lives- as under cons it was a laisez faire way of life= minor state intervention.

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Factors that led to conservative loss p3

7) TARRIF REFORM: Neville Chamberlain wanted to introduce tarrifs= taxes on exported goods with a lower level of tariffs for goods coming into Britain from its empire. conservatives divided over what to do whereas liberals were a party of unity since they all advocated for free trade. WC AND MC worried that tariffs would raise food prices= voted liberals- the party of 'cheap food'.

8) CONSERVATIVE LEADERSHIP: Balfour a weak leader, lacked political skill and introduced barely any social reform. 

9) LIB LAB PACT: agreed that their constituency candidates would not stand against each other in parliamentary by-elections.

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new liberalism

Once into power, the liberals abandoned the idea of classic liberalism= the belief that the gov has a limited role on the individual, abandoned lasissez faire= self-help and freedom of the individual. 

Introduced the liberal social reforms based on NEW LIBERALISM= now proposed state intervention on a whole new level, provided safety nets to prevent citizens falling into destitution. it stressed freedom from evils such as poverty, low wages. 

HOWEVER, new liberalism meant higher government spending to meet these needs and fund reforms BUT THIS contradicted the traditional liberal belief on low taxation :/

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factors leading to development of new liberalism

The growing awareness of poverty and its causes

Booth and Rowntree's study : Found the problem of poverty worrying and startling because not even the individual could help themselves - SO MUCH FOR "SELF HELP" LOL. over 30% poor and 10% very poor. Poverty resulted from low wages, sickness and unemployment. 

Political motives for reformist ideology: a common theme among the liberals could unify the party from any divisions. 

Concerns over national efficiency: Britains workforce and army were no longer efficient. Boer war and Booths study exposed severe deficiencies. 

urged the government to reform and intervene in common people's lives

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Changes in taxation and the peoples budget

To pay for the liberal social reforms, Britain needed 16 million so DLG- chancellor of Exchequer suggested new taxes introduced to finance it; in particular, he proposed the 1909 PEOPLES BUDGET. Essentially it was a policy of redistributive taxation as it was designed to tax the rich in order to fund reforms for the poor. 

People's budget proposed 

  • A supertax on incomes over £5000 a year
  • tax on cars
  • tax on petrol 
  • an inheritance tax on estates over £5000

The rich would have to pay a lot their income through taxes so it was really hated by the wealthy and the conservatives.The bill passed through the HoC easily because it was Liberal dominated but was blocked in the HoL as it was Conservative dominated = HOL vetoed against it and that led to the CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS 

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Liberal reforms

Becuase of Laissez faire, there was literally zero state provision so the poor had to beg. The Poor Law was the last resort as accepting poor relief came with shame. anyways, old beliefs were abandoned and reforms introduced. 


  • 1906 EDUCATION ACT/ PROVISION OF MEALS: provided free school meals for children. Allowed hungry children of all classes to eat at school- work for effectively and achieve at school. But it was permissive, not compulsory so not all LEAS bought it in= still hungry children. 
  • 1907 EDUCATION ACT/ MEDICAL INSPECTIONS: made it compulsory for leas to medically inspect children. Not everyone had the money to afford children- sick and dead children. 


  • OLD AGE PENSIONS ACT: 5Shillings pw to old. only given to those over 70 and of 'good character' eg worked regularly, not been prison. a bit pointless since old ppl died before 70
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liberal reforms p2


  • 1909 TRADE BOARD: to check working conditions and ensure safety, minimum wages and hours. Employers can't do what they want a take advantage of workers. It didn't help all workers eg farmers since it only covered sweated trades

  • 1909 LABOUR EXCHANGES: job centres to find work. only 1 in 4 would get work.

  • 1911 NATIONAL INSURANCE ACT UNEMPLOYED AND SICK: employers, workers and gov contribute through taxes. if you were sick and couldn't work you were given benefits. if you were unemployed you were given benefits. only covered worker not family. 
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The constitutional crisis

arose because the HoL rejected DLG budget. Two parts the first is the people's budget, second is the Parliament Act. 

The first constitutional crisis: The Peoples Budget 1909
Budget to pay for reforms which angered conservatives. fearful for redistributive taxation and called the people's budget a class war on the rich. In November they vetoed against it asap because they obvs didn't want it to go through. Thier excuse for the veto= lords shouldn't interfere in 'money bills'. HOWEVER, the Lords say the budget will be passed if they call an election and win it. JANUARY 1910- Liberals call the election; fight it based on the budget but also LORDS REFORM: whether Britain should be governed by a majority of elected MPS in the HoC or by a non elected hereditary peers in HoL. LIBERALS WIN 1910 ELECTION- coalition with Irish nationalists, (they wanted Liberals to weaken the power of the Lords so they could achieve home rule- Lords/ cons opposed the idea, but if the veto was taken away; it could be possible).

APRIL 1910 LORDS PASSED THE PEOPLES BUDGET. but it wasn't over yet, Liberals wanted more, they didn't like the idea Lords could veto and wanted to curb their power by taking the veto away :)))))))))) = LEADS TO PARLIAMENT ACT.  

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constitutional crisis p2

The second constitutional crisis: The Parliament ACT 1911.
1910 Liberals drew up Parliament Bill to curb Lords power. it proposed 

  • HoL could not veto money bills (budgets) 
  • could not have the power to veto bills entirely, carry out suspensory veto= delay it for 2 years.
  • elections to he held every 5 years.

PB would be easily passed through commons but not Lord dominated conservatives= a problem= not gonna be passed with lack of liberal peers= SOLUTION= Liberals ask King Edward VII to create new liberal peers bc only he had the power to do this. King dies and George replaces him. Cons insisted it would reform no of lords but liberals WANTED TO REDUCE TORY CONSTITUTIONAL POWER. George agreed to create liberal peers enabling PB to be passed if Liberals won another election to prove the majority want this. 



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issue of female emancipation


  • Liberals didn't really support the idea of women getting the vote
  • liberal reforms took up so much parliamentary time and caused controversy so liberals were v reluctant to deal with another issue
  • some women didn't even support the suffrage movement.  

National Union of Women's Sufferage Societies= NUWSS = SUFFERGISTS.Established by Millicent Fawcett. Pacifists believed non-violence was the only way to get the vote. Spread their message through meetings, discussions, petitions.

Women's Social and Political Union= WSPU= SUFFERGETTES. Established by Emmeline Pankhurst and daughters Sybilla and Christabel. very radical and militant, violence the only way to get the vote. Used methods of arson, hunger strikes, chained to parliament gates, physical abuse eg Emily Davidson and horse. actions of suffragettes led to the Cat and Mouse Act

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Irrish home rule

Third Home Rule bill passed in 1912- a moderate measure that would give Ireland its own parliament with the power to make laws on Irish matters, but British parliament would keep control of its foreign policy, trade and defence, but still sent MP'S to Westminister. So this act didn't allow Ireland to be completely independent. 

IRISH NATIONALISTS: favour home rule, want a separate Ireland.


ULSTER UNIONISTS: protestants located in the north of Ireland, wanted Ireland to remain under British rule, DIDNT WANT HOME RULE.

CONSERVATIVES: didn't want Ireland to have independence because it would undermine Britain's great power status 

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home rule p2

prior the Parliament Act, Ulster Unionists relied on Lords to veto Home Rule Bills to prevent inderpendence, but after it was passed, lords couldn't veto it so unionists resisted Home Rule themselves.

EDWARD CARSON- UNIONIST LEADER created ulster covenent, protesting against british gov, signed it in blood. He formed an army= ulster volunteer force in 1913.

Irish nationalists respond to stop a threat of civil war by forming a militia= irish volunteers. 


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the impact of war

Politics in Wartime.

August 1914- Britain declares war on Germany. All factions in society focused and pledged to support the war effort. 
SUFFERAGE MOVEMENT: Pankhurst urged women to suspend campaigning and give full attention to war effort 

TRADE UNIONS: many enlisted for army 

IRISH NATIONALISTS AND UNIONISTS: suspended Home rule campaigns and urged men to enlist for war 

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the political impact of war

Thought to be a short war so libs didn't introduce much change "business as usual" 

Labour introduced DORA in 1914: gave government power to control aspect of everyday life eg

  • British summertime= clocks 1 hr forward=ensured daylight = factories operate for longer 
  • censorship= newspapers/ radio broadcasts censored= government controlled what people heard about the war = high morale/ support war as they only hear good things= propaganda
  • Beer diluted= so workers don't get drunk/ hungover at work.

military disaster at Gallipoli and scandal of shell shortage at western front= lowered liberal support and prestige. = contributed to the formation of wartime coalition. consisted of Asquith still a PM, Bonar Law, Balfour and DLG- ministry of munitions.

Some Liberals didn't like the coalition because it introduced conscription in 1916 and that violated traditional liberal beliefs such as freedom of the individual.

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Lloyd George and liberal division

LG, part of the liberals suggested a wartime coalition. He understood the demands of the home front and what total war required, need unity and high morale; a single government alone would not suffice.


  • 23 cabinet ministers= too many to effectively carry out the business of conducting war  
  • tension within the cabinet: key positions occupied by Liberals and the cons didn't trust Asquith. this meant directs of war was hesitant meaning war would last longer and remain held back due to disagreements between the parties. 

the conservatives really didn't trust Asquith and wanted LG to replace him instead. after discussions with Bonar Law, LG created a small war cabinet consisting of himself, BL and Carson.
Asquith was not to join this, he would only be PM, Asquith resigns LG takes over as PM.So the new cabinet of 5 replaced the one of 20 and the top jobs were held by cons

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influence of labour and the 1918 constitution

labour disunited in 1914 over whether it should support the war or not. The party believed in pacifism and opposed war and militancy. MacDonald opposed war strongly and refused to compromise whereas other labour leaders such as Arthur Henderson supported it. He was the first ever labour mp to join the war cabinet. As part of the coalition, labour had an influence on things- social policy eg made gov pass laws that fixed rent at prewar costs as wartime prices increased commodities and rent= act of remembrance to wc and would enhance labours credibility.

labours time in the cabinet was short lived bc Henderson resigned because he wasn't allowed into a private meeting= Stockholm conference. 

Labour= free from government duties. Had time to rebuild and reorganise its party ready for the post-war and next election. They adopted a NEW CONSTITUTION IN FEB 1918- aims

  • Labour, a party to be compromised of different social groups- TU's, socialist societies
  • nationalise all means of production, distribution and exhange= clause iv 
  • TU's to have more power 
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the coupon election 1918

After the war, there was a bitter rivalry between Asquith (liberal) and DLG (liberal). BONAR LAW and DLG worked very effectively during the wartime coalition- very patriotic and reflected a united nation working together towards a common goal -war. Despite LG being very popular, most funds and constituencies were under Asquith's control. An election was to be called and LG decided to link with the conservatives in a peacetime coalition government. 

Those who supported the coalition gov were given a certificate (coupon) signed by LG and BL themselves. People had to choose between two rival liberal parties= independent liberals under Asquith who couldn't manage the war and resigned, or liberals+cons under LG (and BL) who could hack the war and led a very stable government. 

Lloyd George and the coupon liberals did quite well, winning 133 seats. Asquith's independent liberals did badly, winning only 28 seats. 

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coalition gov in 1918

during the war, LG and BL could work together because they only had one goal which was to end the war. However, post-war everything would change since the common goal was over; they were from completely different parties and had very different ideologies. The feeling of unity would diminish.  


  • war produced government debt
  • post-war reconstruction
  • dealing with post-war peace solution= how to punish Germany.  
  • home rule
  • female emancipation
  • housing crisis, during election campaign LG proposed 'Homes fit for heroes' 
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what it carried out


  • 1918 EDUCATION ACT: raised leaving age to 15 and introduced scholarships
  • ADDISON HOUSING ACT 1919: local authorities to ensure everyone had decent housing  built 170,000 houses 
  • UNEMPLOYMENT ACT: extended to cover 12m workers with unemployment insurance 
  • AGRICULTURAL ACT: maintained wartime price for wheat and oats 


  • post-war depression kicks in= suspension on government spending for reconstruction 
  • ADDISON- Ministry of health in charge of the housing act leaves because subsidies for housing was cut 
  • industrial unrest- TU'S on strikes 
  • Easter rising 

The government faced further strain as BL resigned. He was replaced by Austen Chamberlain- disagreed with LG a lot  

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the fall of Lloyd George 1918-22

LACK OF A POLITICAL PARTY BASE: the coalition was mostly dominated by conservtives. He was the "prime minister without a party", he relied on conservative support to remain in power.

FOREIGN POLICY: CHANAK AFFAIR: LG acted high handedly, ordering british troops into action without consulting hiis coalition gov.

HONOURS SCANDAL 1922: LG accused of selling honours and peerages to create a personal political fund for himself and his party. 

FAILURE TO CARY OUT HIS PROMISE OF HOMES FIT FOR HEREOS: the Geddes Axe( commitee appointed by LG which examined spending and suggested cuts). In turn many on the left and many who lost their homes during the war, were angered and electoral support was lost, resulting in his fall. Instead of the ‘man that won the war’Lloyd George was remembered for cuts.

ALL this= naturally looses support and Conservatives want to abandon him.

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when the torries dump LG

OCTOBER 1922: they win a by-election at Newport in which they realise they have enough electoral support to break the coalition- LG isn't even that popular anymore.  So a meeting takes place at THE CARLTON CLUB, in which conservatives wish the fight the next election alone, Bonar Law and Baldwin made speeches. LG immediately leaves the coalition and resigns.

 LG and Liberals VS BL and Conservatives stand against each other at 1922 November election



116 LIBERALS = liberals clearly declines since 1906

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social and cultural impact of the war

WW1= total war

Becuase of conscription introduced in 1916 meant 6m men taken out of work to fight in army= lack of workers in Britain, how are things going to yet done? yes that's right women take on men's jobs. Many WC women worked in munitions factories, drove buses, shipbuilding.  MC women became secretaries, typists, bankers 

The efforts of women were a vital success of the war. It challenged the dominant victorian ideology that women were weak and should stay at home gave women a new sense of freedom, by enabling women to work, they became breadwinners for the first time; financial independence.  

1919 SEX DISCRIMINATION ACT: introduced allowed women no longer to be barred from civil service and government jobs

fashion changed: symbolising new freedom for women- "flappers", skirts, makeup, staying out alone

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the reform in the franchise

women's work during war overcame the objections people held towards giving women the vote. It showed women were cable and needed to be rewarded.  so they made a small change for both men and women


  • allowed men over 19 to get the vote only if they had served the army - so they could vote in this election
  • from then on, all men over 21 could vote 
  • WOMEN OVER 30 COULD VOTE if they were a member of local gov or married to a member of local gov

So not all women got the vote, despite the young wc women who worked extra hard during the war= their efforts went unnoticed. 

women only got the vote when they were enfranchised on the same terms as men in 1928

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trade unions and labour

war created demands for worker= trade unions get power. The trade unions worked with the government in banning strikes so they could produce arms effectively and quickly, even allowed the dilution agreements to go through- unskilled people to do jobs

miners strike 1921: gov control of mines ended in 1921. allowed mine owners to cut ages and lengthened hours to compete with foreign competition. the high levels of unemployment at the time pressed miners to reduce wages more since and workers would have to accept since there was a lack of employment atm. so 1 April 1921, a miners strike began, two other groups- railwaymen and transport workers supported the miners. Before it turned into a general strike, the gov intervened and declared a state of emergency/ split the triple alliance.= fail and miners had to accept their pay cuts.

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cultural change

war challenged society beliefs. women were seen in a different light. MC and WC felt a sense of commonness when hearing of death toll and participated in memorials together. 

PATRIOTISM AND CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTORS/ CO's: war= reinforced patriotism, stressed Britishness and nationalism, jingoism. recruitment posters played rode out a patriotic stance: urged men it was their duty to protect their country. not enough men joint war= introduction of conscription in 1916 = SOME PEOPLE DIDNT LIKE THAT AT ALL THEY, A VIOLATION OF RIGHTS= created 'No conscription fellowship' and aimed to establish the 'conscience clause'= the right all men had to claim exemption from military service. = these men were called CO's, refused to fight bc of RELIGIOUS REASONS: eg Quakers believed in pacifism. POLITICAL: lefties- it was an imperialist war and an ex of RC exploiting WC by making them fight. MORAL: wrong to kill

CO would go to a local tribunal to justify his refusal to fight. If the appeal failed, he would have to join the army but not as a militant force, instead a cook, driver, nurse. CO's that even rejected these = absolutists and faced imprisonment.

CO's  were deemed as unpatriotic and cowardly. given white feathers= sign of cowardice. 

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effects of the trenches

trenches= provided protection from enemy attack and artillery. The only way to attack the enemy was to come out of it= men died

trenches had horrible living conditions eg lice, poison gas, rotting corpses essentially poor sanitiation= all this led to deaths of men. many men came back and experienced shell shock and mental trauma. 

some men conveyed the horrors of the war through poetry. War poet Wilfred Owen- Dulce et Decorum. 

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redmond(home rule) and Carson( no home rule) urged men to join the British army to fight the war. Redmond took over as leade of the Irish volunteers but some broke away from it. so another group of Irish Volunteers led by EOIN MACNEILwith over 10,000 members. They planned an uprising against British rule but MacNeil REFUSED. however, the other members (PEARSE, CONNOLLY) decided to go through with it anyway. 1916: Pearse and 1000 rebels seized the General post office in Dublin on EASTER MONDAY. posted a proclamation announcing the establishment of an independent Ireland= destroyed post office, 450 deaths and 2600 injured

RESULTS OF EASTER RISING: condemned by Ireland nationalists. Pearse and other leaders were killed, some went to prison without trial= harsh measures created hatred against British.

SINN FEIN: a movement that brought together those committed to an independent Ireland together. ER was said to be an SF movement and they rapidly gained support even though they had nothing to do with it, just took on the image they were given. By the end of 1916 they became so popular, SF was established as a revolutionary party committed to the establishment of an Irish republic 

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response of LG

tried to negotiate a compromise: HEADS OF AGREEMENT- it granted immediate Home rule of the 26 southern Ireland counties but Ulster to remain united with Britain till after the war. However, this deal FAILED because unionist members in his government felt he was going too far in appeasing Irish nationalists. 

RISE OF SF: failure of peaceful agreement led to the idea force was the only option. EAMON DE VALERA elected as president of SF, growing in supported had about 1,200 SF clubs. Britain extended conscription to Ireland= increased British hostility and increased SF support.  

1918 GENERAL ELECTION: sf won 73 seats but refused to take its seat in Parliament, instead set up their own in Dublin= the DAIL.  

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war of independence 1919-21

GOV/LG reacted badly to SF, and the Dail- declared it illegal. IRA became brutal and harsh in its campaign of harassment and murder of British forces. resulted in LG recruiting the BLACK AND TANS to deal with ira terror tactics. However, black and tans used horrible and brutal tactics which led to retaliation and hostility by Irish nationalists eg SPIRAL AND COUNTER OF TERROR when 1000 died. 

LG faced international condemnation for the black and tans, media was very critical too. need a solution 

  • Lloyd George managed to convince the Irish to sign the Treaty
  • He declared that  if this meeting failed he would be forced to resign and Bonar Law would take office who would be far stricter
  • 6th December 1921 the treaty was signed
  • Southern Ireland became the Irish Free State and was given dominion status
  • It had its own parliament but remained part of the British Empire
  • 6 Ulster provinces formed Northern Ireland and remained part of UK
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political developments: decline of the liberals

the impact of the war split LG and Asquith= split the Liberal party. Other factors that weakened the Liberals include 

  • electoral costs: the other two parties had substanital funds. Labour were funded by tu's which increased as membershp grew, and the conservatives were funded by businesses and the wealthy. The Liberals didnt have a source of income so their campaigns were limited.
  • loss of traditional support: previously working men relied on liberals to support thier needs however with the rise of Labour ensuring Tu dominance, they realised Labour was the party where thier best interests lay= shifted to labour 
  • disadvantaged by the first past the post system 
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1923 election

BL resigned and STANLEY BALDWIN took over as PM. Baldwin thought the best way to tackle unemployment would be to return to imperial preference= tariffs. He decided to call an election on the issue of tariffs so he could get a mandate: an election result gives a mandate to gov to carry out its proposals. However, the liberals and Labour argued for free trade so united in support and increased their share of the vote. Baldwin resigned after a vote of no confidence: if this vote takes place, gov has to call an election. 

Labour, under Ramsay MacDonald, won the election and the first ever labour government was formed. why?

  • working men switched from Liberals to Labour
  • labour was well funded, strong financial backing
  • gained experience in government during the war, allowed it to prove it was a patriotic party that could be trusted with power 
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first labour government 1924

the aim:" to gain the confidence of the country. Wanted to show that labour was capable of running the country and the British Empire- thus no changes made to colonial rule, defence spending and cabinet procedures.

made changes to social services: old age pensions and unemployment benefits raised. State scholarships revived- which has fallen victim to Geddes Axe.

Successes: tackling the housing crisis: Minister of Health- John Wheatley introduced Housing Act which gave £9m subsidies to build council houses.

international relations: MacDonald acted as a foreign secretary- chaired a conference and produced the Dawes Plan= reduced German reparations and bought an end to French in Rhur.

link to communism: controversial- labour wanted to give USSR recognition and provide it with loans of 30m in return for giving back British assets seized during the Russian revolution. this deal gave cons and liberals the opportunity to attack labour for 'being too soft on communism'.

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collapse of first labour government

The idea that Labour was being too soft on communism was given more weight by...

THE CAMPBELL CASE SEP 1924: Campbell, the editor of a left-wing newspaper published an article urging troops to disobey if they were ordered to fire on striking workers, Labour was accused of interfering in the justice system when the attorney general withdrew the prosecution against campbell. The cons wanted to appoint a committee of inquiry to investigate and MacDonald said he would resign if it happened. The majority voted in favour of it and a general election had to be called.

THE ZINOVIEV LETTER: 4 days before polling day, a letter claimed to be from the Russian communist leader was published. It gave instructions on how to conduct a revolution in Britain and urged the British communist party to infiltrate labour and use it to bring down the British state.   

The conservatives won the 1924 election  

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the resurgence of the conservatives 1924-29

why did they get back into power

IMPACT OF WW1: war allowed the conservatives to highlight their innate values of patriotism nationalism, defence of Britain. These were important values that appealed to Britons esp at this time.

ELECTORAL CHANGE: during the end of the war, the representation of the people's act ensured plural voting: owners of businesses outside their constituency could vote twice as well as graduates- both people likely to be conservative supporters. 

BROAD SUPPORT: had the support of various classes: wealthy MC and WC- this broad support came from its association with patriotism and national unity. 

FUNDING: by wealthy- means they led highly organised election campaigns 

NEWSPAPERS: owned by conservative supports and showed cons in a good light- more people interested in their party. 

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Baldwins government

main issue they wanted to deal with- unemployment, economic

Baldwin appointed Winston Churchill as chancellor of the Exchequer- he put England back on the gold standard/ GS.

Baldwin appointed Neville Chamberlain as the minister of health. he carried out social reforms eg WIDOWS PENSIONS, most important- THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT 1929: gave local authorities extra duties concerning public health, childcare. 

They introduced other acts too

  • ELECTRICITY ACT 1926: set up central electricity board which created power stations and a power grid to distribute electricity to the population. 
  • REPRESENTATION OF THE PEOPLES ACT: reformed the act, women now enfranchised on equal terms to men- women aged 21 and over can vote.
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economic issues

positive developments in the 1920s: new industries- chemicals, motor vehicles, electrical goods all growing at a face paste. However, the arrival of new industries led to a decline in staple industries which affected its workers. 

two policies that had an effect on the economy
1) the conservatives broke the alliance labour made with Russia in 1924- stopped Anglo-Russian trade

2) 1925, Britain back on the gs

that decision was urged by Churchill. he said Britain's post-war economic problems were linked to the fact it came off the gs in the first place. PREWAR: Britain was on the gs and was economically stronger- sterling was the most dominant international currency- Churchill hoped this prosperity would come back. GS had limitations: meant raising the pounds exchange rate and inceaded value of pound made British exports uncompetitive= more unemployment in staple industies= industrial unrest eg general strike. 

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the general strike 1926

gs meant British exports would be expensive so mine owners called for wage cuts and longer working hours. workers completely rejected this so mine owners threatened to lock them out so they couldn't come into work and earn money. Baldwin intervened and gave financial support- subsidise both miners wage and owners profits for 9 months on 31st JULY- unions called it 'red Friday'. The gov also set up the SAMUEL COMMISSION report: said cuts were essential but long hours were unnecessary. The subsidies ended in April 1926. the owners said the workers had to accept the demands, yet again they refused, said: "not a penny off the pay, not a second off the day". Asked for TU help and a strike was called on 1st May. the gov responded by invoking the Emergency Powers Act and called a state of emergency. Baldwin used propaganda in speeches and articles to undermine support for the TU, said it threatened British constitution- Churchill did the same in the "British gazette", used BBC radio broadcasts to condemn it. The TU wasn't organised for a strike anyway- some leaders were for and some were aginst. They didn't plan a strike, they expected the threat of a strike would be enough for the gov and owners to change their minds. so on 12th May, the tu called off the strike and the workers had to accept the pay cuts and long hours. GENERAL STRIKE A FAILURE.

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results of the general strike

FOR MINERS/ COAL INDUSTRY: a total failure, they had to accept the demands. When workers returned, some were made redundant.

TU; the strike cost the National Union of Railmen and Transport and the General Workers Union 1M EACH, they could not afford to strike again for a very long time. The conservative gov passed the TRADE DISPUTES ACT 1927 which made sympathetic strikes illegal so unions couldn't strike often.

CONSERVATIVES; the handling of the strike was praised by the MC because they thought it would lead to a communist revolution. they lost WC support bc they were disgusted by the harsh measures the gov used to achieve victory- trades dispute act= loss of voters

LABOUR: despite its close association with TU, MacDonald refused any involvement in the strike. They had maintained a successful image of firmness, neutrality and moderation. showed them not to be taking a particular side.  

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unemployment and regional division

the decline of staple industries= unemployment. but this didn't account for regions as a whole. some areas suffered depression and others didn't eg

DEPRESSED AREAS/ staple industries: Glasgow and belfast= shipbuilding, JARROW= shipbuilding and coal 

AREAS OF INDUSTRIAL GROWTH/ new industries: DAGHENAM, BIRMS, OXFORD= motor vehicles,  LONDON= electrical goods and consumer industries 

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post war roles for women

between 1922- 1929, key legislations were passed to give women greater legal equality 

1923 MATRIMONIAL CAUSES ACT: women no longer had to prove cruelty etc in addition to adultery to prove grounds for divorce

1924 GUARDIANSHIP OF INFANTS ACT: guardianship of infants distributed to both parents equally- wasn't job woman's job anymore. 

1928 REPRESENTATION OF THE PEOPLES ACT: gave women aged 21 and over the vote 

work opportunities at the end of the war women were required to go back home to their traditional housewife role. clerical work was the biggest area for female employment- by 1929 there were about 300,000 women in this area 

mc women job opportunities rose- 1919 SEX DISCRIMINATION ACT: women no longer barred from civil service for gov jobs due to their gender. new industries gave way to jobs.
but women still earnt less than men. THE MARRIAGE BAR: women sacked once married

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changing lifestyles and fashion, cinema, radio

following the war, the new freedoms that women had experienced in their war work were reflected in new fashions. Edwardian dress disappeared, hems rose and waistlines dropped. women wore big broaches jewellery, short hair/bobs = young women- flappers. also a sign of loosening social restraints upon women. wore more makeup, smoked in public, out in public alone- cinemas and dancehalls. some even had access to birth control- control over their own fertility, family sized went down to 3  

Newspapers and magazines: people read more even children eg beano, magazines appealed to women- life tips, cooking, fashion etc.  

CINEMA: become the most popular form of entertainment in the 1920s, replaces dance halls. popular bc it showed movies about American heroes- brits appealed to Americanism. 

RADIO: informed people about events, reinforced patriarchy- broadcasted sporting events, church sermons etc

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1929 election

In 1929, Britain was on the eve of an economic crisis- wall street crash. At the time there was no sign it was about to hit Britain. the 1929 election (flapper election) was significant for two reasons

  • it was the first ever election in which women were able to vote under the equal franchise act
  • the establishment of labour as the main opposition party 

people eg conservatives opposed giving women the vote- right wing newspapers such as the daily mail warned the young women of the 1920s were flappers and unsuitable for serious issues like voting. BUT it was actually women that supported conservatives than any other group and they were playing a key role in funding the party- this is what won Balfour over and decided to enfranchise women.  

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election campaign- party messages

people believed this election was a basic choice between socialism/ labour or capitalism/cons

the 1929 election was fought over one key issue- unemployment and how to solve it 

CONSERVATIVES: SAFETY FIRST: based campaign on the idea he was an honest and principled man that could be trusted with the country- in posters portrayed as "the man you could trust". offered no radical ideas to tackle unemployment.

LABOUR: " A SOCIALIST COMMONWEALTH": it had proved its administation credibilty in 1924. MacDonald contuined to show he could be trusted independently and not under tu- by dissaproving the stike. Planned to reorganise industry in the interest of all and the result would be  socialist commonweatlth. 

LIBERALS: "WE CAN CONQUER UNEMPLYMENT": LG was reorganising his party and there were hopeful signs of success: won 6 by elections during 1927-29 and had £40,000 of lg private funds to sucessfully campign. offered a non traditional strategy to tackle unempliyment- investing in a scheme of public works.

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second labour government


  • MacDonalds constitutional and moderate policies showed he could be trusted 
  • key issue was unemployment- people felt it could not be solved by keeping the same government and same policies. Despite Torrie's being in power, they didn't solve the issue of unemployment either. 


At the start, things were looking good. Unemployment went down. aimed build council houses, nationalise transport and raise the school leaving age to 15. 

BUT Britain was due to face a massive economic crisis just as they got into power. 

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