Liberalism Divided: A Study in British Political Thought, 1914-1939

By Michael Freeden | Go to book overview

9
A DECADE OF DORMANCY

FOR many who lived through the 1930s the decade seemed one of perpetual crisis and conflict. But whereas periods of upheaval, even despair, will often fire people's imaginations and kindle a spirit of prophecy, the dominant currents of political thinking in England at that time retreated even further into weariness and complacency.1 As the decade unfolded, fascism--for which more than one British socialist had expressed admiration in the 1920s--lost its compelling aura of vitality as its German variant loomed menacingly on the international scene. Inside Britain, a lack-lustre Labour government had left in its wake an economic and political crisis that gravely shook the self-confidence of the nation, calling up a die-hard conservatism which forced a retreat just short of a rout on progressive opinion. The Liberal party, severely diminished by external competition and internal strife experienced yet another split, into Samuelites and [J. A.] Simonites, the latter fast assimilating into Conservatism. Communism alone attracted the enthusiasm of small groups, but served more to channel a romantic backlash to the perplexities of the times than to reshape effectively social thought and action. In moving forward from liberalism,2 it repopularized a nineteenth-century image of a materialist, capitalist liberalism cut off from social life. Conservatism stood still, while liberalism and moderate socialism submerged beneath the political surface, emerging periodically to survey the bleak horizon and to signal their continued presence, but operating with barely enough intellectual resources to remain bouyant.

In these depleted circumstances the quality of political argument deteriorated further. If conflict is functional, it was as a consequence of its exacerbation in the European arena that British resolve hardened to withstand its stiff test at the end of the decade.

____________________
1
The philosopher C. E. M. Joad dated this decline c. 1926, pointing to the end of analysis, purpose and reconstruction in politics and the abandonment of the assumption 'that you can refashion the world by legislation' ( "'The End of an Epoch'", NS, 1, 8. 12. 1934).
2
Thus the title of a book by Stephen Spender ( Forward from Liberalism [ London, 1937]).

-329-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Liberalism Divided: A Study in British Political Thought, 1914-1939
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS vii
  • Contents ix
  • ABBREVIATIONS AND CONVENTIONS xi
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • 2 - The War on Liberalism 18
  • 3 - The Worker as Citizen 45
  • 4 - The Liberal Summer School: the First Decade 78
  • 5 - Human Nature, Economic Laws, and the Reconstitution of Capitalism 127
  • 6 - Liberalism, Socialism, and Labour 177
  • 7 - The Elements of Liberal Humanism 223
  • 8 - Socialism with a Liberal Face 294
  • 9 - A Decade of Dormancy 329
  • SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY 373
  • Index 385
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 406

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.