Liberty, Retrenchment and Reform: Popular Liberalism in the Age of Gladstone, 1860-1880

Liberty, Retrenchment and Reform: Popular Liberalism in the Age of Gladstone, 1860-1880

by Eugenio F. Biagini


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In common with republicanism or socialism in continental Europe, Liberalism in nineteenth-century Britain was a mass movement. By focussing on the period between the 1860s and the 1880s, this book sets out to explain why and how that happened, and to examine the people who supported it, their beliefs, and the way in which the latter related to one another and to reality. Popular suport for the Liberal party was not irrational in either its objectives or its motivations: on the contrary, its dissemination was due to the fact that the programme of reforms proposed by the party leaders offered convincing solutions to some of the problems perceived as being the most urgent at the time. This is a revealing, innovative synthesis of the history of popular support for the Liberal party, which emphasises the extent to which Liberalism stood in the common heritage of European and American democracy.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780521548861
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 11/30/2003
Pages: 500
Product dimensions: 5.98(w) x 8.98(h) x 1.10(d)

Table of Contents

List of illustrations; Acknowledgements; List of abbreviations; Note on the text; Introduction; Part I. Liberty and Retrenchment: 1. The language of popular liberalism; 2. The social contract; 3. The social question; 4. Anti-clericalism; Part II. Reform: 5. The franchise question; 6. Parliament and community; 7. The charismatic leader; Bibliography; Index.

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