THE CONSERVATIVE ORGANIZATION
THE extension of the parliamentary suffrage to the urban masses conceded by the Act of 1867 looked very threatening for the Conservative party. The boroughs, which had always been the stronghold of Liberalism, were now about to throw the counties definitively into the shade. When taking the "leap in the dark," or rather after having taken it, the Tories, and Disraeli in particular, entertained the hope that the populations of the towns would supply them as well as the other side with an electoral contingent, that they could not be deaf to Tory influences and principles. Whether this calculation was a fanciful one or not, it was clear that the future of the Conservative party would henceforward depend on the urban voters. To lay hands on them forthwith became the main preoccupation of the Conservatives. They hastened to form organizations for enlisting the new electors. As after the year 1832, it was Lancashire which took the lead. In several manufacturing towns of this county the old "Constitutional Societies" were revived, or new ones were founded. This example was followed in various other places, but not to any very great extent. The organizing movement thus inaugurated, which was in a way a new and enlarged edition of that which had been started thirty years before, in consequence of Sir Robert Peel's cry of "Register, Register, Register!" was characterized by a novel and highly significant feature: the Conservative Associations scattered throughout the country were combined into a confederation, entitled the National Union of Conservative and Constitutional Associations, represented by a body of delegates to be renewed from year to year. The business of the Union was to stimulate and direct the
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Publication information: Book title: Democracy and the Organization of Political Parties. Volume: 1. Contributors: M. Ostrogorski - Author, Frederick Clarke - Translator. Publisher: Macmillan. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1922. Page number: 250.