Victorian England: Aspects of English and Imperial History, 1837-1901

By L. C. B. Seaman | Go to book overview

11


Beaconsfieldism and Midlothianism

Foreign and Colonial Policy 1868-85

If we are to maintain our position as a first-rate Power we must, with our Indian Empire and large Colonies be Prepared for attacks and wars, somewhere or other, CONTINUALLY.

QUEEN VICTORIA to Lord Beaconsfield,
28 July 1879

It was between 1868 and 1886 that certain characteristic political attitudes of the ‘Right’ and ‘Left’, as they were to exist well into the middle of the twentieth century, were first shaped; and the shaping was done by Gladstone and Disraeli. The particular differences for which they were responsible have little to do with social problems at home, however. Even if it be accepted that there is at least something in the view that Disraeli’s government from 1874 to 1880 paid more attention to working-class living and working conditions than Gladstone’s first two ministries, the Conservative party after his death, even when associated, as it was after 1886, with the Liberal Unionists, did little in its domestic policies to commend itself to the working classes. ‘Tory Democracy’ was little more than a colourful theory about Disraeli’s Conservatism invented by Lord Randolph Churchill in the 1880s for the purpose (in which he was ultimately unsuccessful) of embarrassing Lord Salisbury. Nor, owing to Gladstone’s obsession with Ireland, the consequent loss to the party of Joseph Chamberlain, and the political disarray into which the party fell after Gladstone’s resignation in 1893, did the Liberals after 1880, whether in

-206-

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Victorian England: Aspects of English and Imperial History, 1837-1901
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgements vii
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - People of the Book 4
  • 2 - Age of Steam 25
  • 3 - Disease and Drudgery 41
  • 4 - Lord John and Sir Robert 62
  • 5 - Patriotism Prevails 82
  • 6 - Lord Pumicestone 103
  • 7 - The People's Darling 124
  • 8 - Leap in the Dark 153
  • 9 - Towards a Modern State 168
  • 10 - Towards a Modern State 189
  • 11 - Beaconsfieldism and Midlothianism 206
  • 12 - Cloud in the West 232
  • 13 - The Great Depression: Fact and Fiction 262
  • 14 - Death of Liberal England 280
  • 15 - Birth of the Twentieth Century 299
  • 16 - Imperial Pre-Eminence 331
  • 17 - African Scramble 354
  • 18 - A Clash of Empires 375
  • 19 - Recessional 397
  • 20 - New Ways for Old 416
  • 21 - Queen and Mother 435
  • Index 463
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