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
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Publication information: Book title: Victorian England: Aspects of English and Imperial History, 1837-1901. Contributors: L. C. B. Seaman - Author. Publisher: Routledge. Place of publication: London. Publication year: 1995. Page number: 206.
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