The Origins of the Labour Party, 1880-1900

The Origins of the Labour Party, 1880-1900

The Origins of the Labour Party, 1880-1900

The Origins of the Labour Party, 1880-1900

Excerpt

This book is an attempt to describe how the Labour Party came into existence. It is primarily a study in the development of new political structure. Although it has a good deal to say about the social, religious and economic environment of Socialist and working-class politics, it does not pretend to provide a complete picture of the growth of the labour movement as a whole in the later nineteenth century.

Even within its limits, however, the task has presented considerable difficulties. The unpublished source material is very scattered, and, unless great efforts are made to look after it properly, much of it may in the future become even more scattered and in many cases may be lost. At the same time, there remain several important private collections of documents which are not yet available for research. In kindred fields of study, much remains to be done. Trade union histories are rarely adequate, and numerous problems in the economic and social history of the period remain unsolved.

I believe, however, that the main lines of the story can now be established. While interpretations are bound to differ, and details may be altered by the additional material that may appear in the future, I am confident that little would be gained by postponing publication in the expectation that fresh evidence would radically alter the account contained in the following pages.

It is impossible for me to enumerate all those who have assisted me in the course of my work. My sense of obligation is none the less real. Acknowledgment is made in Appendix C (List of Unpublished Sources) to those who have facilitated my task by allowing me to see, and in most cases to quote from, the documents in their possession. I am especially grateful to Mr. Francis Johnson, for many . . .

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