Degree Year

1980

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

History

Advisor(s)

Barry McGill

Keywords

Labour Party, Liberal Party, Politics

Abstract

The first chapter deals with the underlying trends of the period. At first the material conditions of the first decade of the twentieth century will be assessed. What was the economic condition of the people? How was this position colored by the levels of relative deprivation, education, and leisure time that existed in Edwardian England? Once these basic areas have been examined, chapter one goes on to trace the development known as the "New Unionism" which began taking root after 1889 and really found its place after 1910. What was the nature of this unionism and what made it different from its predecessor? We will briefly look at the disputes of the period and their importance to a growing workers' consciousness. This topic of consciousness-will then be viewed within the framework of the earlier part of this chapter. The final section will then make the bridge to politics as it briefly examines the political ramifications of the "New Unionism."

Chapter two concentrates on the parliamentary Labour Party. In tracing the early development of Labour, emphasis will be placed on the multitude of constraints and liabilities that the party encountered from 1900 to 1914. Areas covered will include internal weaknesses, the relationship with trade unions, and external constraints (i.e. the Liberal Party, the constraints of the political system, etc.). The second part of the chapter will examine the growth of the Labour Party from 1910 to 1914. Not only will the evolution of the structure of the party be assessed but the general political picture from the perspective of Labour as of 1914 will be examined.

The last chapter will scrutinize the actual position of the Liberal Party in the years 1910 to 1914 with an emphasis on the oft-overlooked question of municipal elections. Some may ask after the author's earlier attempts at discrediting purely empirical studies why he ends up doing the same. The reason is to show how misleading electoral study can be . For at the national level, the Liberals will be seen to be strong while Labour appears inept and at bay. Municipal results reveal quite a different picture. After this section, a conclusion will attempt to draw this eclectic approach into a single cohesive statement of intent.

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History Commons

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