1872 - Crystal Palace Speech
Conservative PM Benjamin Disraeli’s Speech
1. Modernity & Politics: the New Party System
2. Trade Unionism & the Labour Movement
1872 Crystal Palace Speech – Conservative Principles:
Maintain the institution of the country
Associate with the Monarchy the idea which it represents
o The majesty of the law
o The administration of justice
o The fountain of mercy and of honour
An established Church
Benjamin Disreali
- PM 1868 - 1880
In Politics, it marks the SHIFT that took place from the older parties to modern
parties. Not to mix up PM (Prime Minister) and MP (Member of Parliament).
The Tory party still exists when Benjamin Disraeli makes that speech. He’s the
predecessor of Theresa May. Around that same year, we can notice a SHIFT
from powerful Monarchy to very strong Parliament.
Distinction between
o The Conservatives à don’t want any changes
o The Liberals à Don’t like revolution and they support the Monarchy unlike
the Republicans and focus also on the Established Church and defend
1. Modernity & Politics: the New Party System
2. The Background You Must Know
3. The New Party System
1. The Background You Must Know
Old Politics
Monarchs VS Royal Council
- English/ British Monarch always kept an eye on nobility and court as conflicts
between head of the state and the barons had been so numerous.
- Monarchs have always relied on a council to help them to take a decision.
- The council of the king was composed of members of the aristocracy (barons,
- With the French ruling dynasty (House of Normandy, William the Conqueror) the king’s
council was turned into a Parliament (From the French Parlemanter)
- The Parliament had one house à The House of Lords
- In the 13th century, landholders sent representatives to court to present their
complaints. They were so numerous that is the 14th century, they were given a separate
house à The House of Commons
- The opposition between monarchs and parliament increased steadily
- In the 17th century, the Civil war which took place between the Stuart Kings and the
British Parliament (Led at one stage by Oliver Cromwell) was the epitome of that
- After the Great Revolution of 1688, Parliament had won its fight against the monarchy
à Throughout the 18th century and the 19th century, the British monarchs steadily lost
most of their former powers.
à Old Politics: The Monarch and the Royal Council have always filled Britain with
history and always existed;
à From the Feudal System divided into: King and Queen Knights/ Nobility/
Upper class/ Lower class/ Peasants
à At the beginning, there was only the Monarch and the House of Lords but they were
arguments between them and tension increased (there was something about Richard
the Lion Heart and the house of Plantagenet which said only God could decide who
was King/Queen à Divine rights of kings)
à In the 13th century, Lords would send ambassadors (people from lower class) to go
talk to the King and little by little, they would gain more powers à the House of
à Increase of the tensions between Parliament and Monarchy
à The King is displeased to discuss any matters with the Stuart kings, especially
the Stuarts of Scotland.
à Oliver Cromwell (example of that opposition puts Parliament above Monarchy).
MONARCH à Catholic PARLIAMENT à Protestant (At the time) 1688 The Great
Revolution (as important as French Revolution for us
House of Commons – 646 MPs
Opposition parties
Governing parties
Shadow ministers
Prime Minister
House of Lords – 700 Members
Governing party
Opposition parties
and crossbenchers
Shadow ministers
Law Lords
Political parties and class system:
As Parliament took its full place in a modernised political life, so did the political
parties which emerged in the 19th century as the modern party system we know today.
In the 18th century, they were not parties in the modern sense of the term, we could
say that they were groups of influence or tendencies.
Against absolute monarchy. They
(monarchy by divine right)
Composed of aristocrats and
industrialists and merchants.
Known as Country Party
Social Classes
- Royal Family
- Spiritual Lords
- Temporal Lords
- Great Officers of the State
o Baronets
o Knights
o Country Gentlemen
Middle Class
- Upper Middle Class
o Factory Owners
o Large Scale Business Men
o Bankers
o Doctors
o Lawyers
o Engineers
o Clergymen
- Lower Middle Class
o Small Scale Business Men
o Shopkeepers
o Merchants
o Civil Servants
Lower Class
- The Working Class
o Labor
o Factory Workers
For absolute monarchy in the 1!th
century. Then, they accept the
new monarchs à Parliamentary
They become the champion of
the new monarchy and defend
landed interests (country squire &
small gentry), the old aristocracy
and the Anglican Church.
Known as the Court Party
o Seamstresses
o Miners
o Sweepers
The Poor
2. The New Party System
The series of Prime Ministers is due to the coalition breaking Notice that : Tory
changed into Conservatives from 1830 Whigs into Liberals (the economic saved the
name) and they supported the Chartist movement in the Early 1900’s but things have
evolved since early 1900’s with the Labour Party in 1906 which is a powerful party
beyond the Liberal Party (even though they still make the decisions).
Benjamin Disraeli – 1868 – Conservative – Victoria I
William Ewart Gladstone – 1868-1874 – Liberal – Victoria I
Benjamin Disraeli – 1874-1880 – Conservative – Victoria I
William Ewart Gladstone – 1880-1885 – Liberal – Victoria I
Robert Gascoye-Cecil, Lord Salisbury – 1885-1886 – Conservative – Victoria I
William Ewart Gladstone – 1886 – Liberal – Victoria I
Robert Gascoye-Cecil, Lord Salisbury – 1886-1892 – Conservative – Victoria I
William Ewart Gladstone – 1892-1894 - Liberal – Victoria I
Archibald Primrose, Lord Rosebery – 1894-1895 – Liberal – Victoria I
Robert Gascoye-Cecil, Lord Salisbury – 1895-1902 – Conservative – Victoria I
The Economy at the Heart of Politics
The Tories: against the Stuart Kings
The Whigs (called after their wigs on their head): the nobility from the
countryside à The power of the Monarch is no longer and Queen Victoria cannot
make decisions (only a few)
Whigs – Liberals
Non-intervention of the government in
the economy (repealing of the Corn
Laws – 1846)
Support the manufacturers & traders
(middle class)
For the franchise to all, so as to have
more voting liberals
Support the Chartist movement (one
man – one vote)
Working class people will support
liberalism and the Liberal party, but will
then turn to its own labour forces
Tories – Conservatives
The government protects à Specific
interest (using taxation on Corn Laws –
1815 – For example)
Support the aristocratic landed gentry
Against the franchise to all, restricting it
to upper class Tories/conservative voters
Against the Chartist movement
Little by little, the conservative party will
adopt free trade attitudes such as the
Peelites who even joined the Liberal
The Conservative Party
à The Tories was a coalition formation in the 18th century. The party organised in the
1830’s and took the name “Conservative”, even though the name Tory is still used
today. The party became the champion of the Church of England (Anglican Church)
therefore, it rejected the Catholic Emancipation of 1830
à Local Party (one didn’t need to go to the capital to meet with other members)
which needed the local support besides the elite and got elected in 1874.
The Conservative party founded the National Union and Conservative and
Constitutional Associations in 1867.
It is a federation of local organisations which is ruled by an assembly of
delegates who meet once a year in what is going to become a national
Conservative Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli supported such a system as it
enabled him to promote his idea of a “popular conservative” (not just meant
to work for an elite) and which helped him to win the 1874 elections.
Conservative values:
- Defence of the Crown, the Church and the Constitution.
o Preservation of the prerogatives of the Crown, upholding the
independence of the House of Lords and continuation of the Union of
Church and State.
Robert Peel
Sir Robert Peel, an industrialist, not a landowner modernised the party. He opposed
the great landowners after the Irish Famine of 1845 by repealing the Corn Laws.
à Although he was a conservative leader, he was convinced by free trade. He
knew the repealing of the Corn Laws would put an end to his career, but he went on
à The best of his ideas were conservative.
There was a conservative split in 1846 over the repealing of the Corn Laws.
- The more conservative members of the party (the Protectionists) rejected the
- The Peelites voted the repealing and in 1859 joined the Liberals.
The Liberal Party
à The Liberal Party was founded in 1859 wit the merging of Whigs, Peelites
conservatives and Radicals
à It turned into the Liberal Democrats in 1988
à The Middle class accessed the franchise in 1832 – The old Whig party faded to give
way to Middle class liberalism.
à 1868 – Election of William Gladstone à End of the dominance of the Whig
aristocratic oligarchy and beginning of the New Liberal Party (Modern Party)
The Middle-class is a puritan party with Calvinists values, based on the
protestant ethic of loving God though hard and honest work and personal
responsibility until the 1920’s when secularisation of society downplayed their
Free enterprise is at the heart of Middle-class values. It should not be controlled
by government.
The Liberal party supported those values.
After the 1867 Reform Act, the liberal party structured itself. The revision came
from Birmingham as the new rules edited by the Reform Act obliged the party to
recognise so as to be more efficient. The defeat at the 1874 elections lead liberals
to copy Birmingham which had created a local comity, and thus the National
Liberal Federation was promoted by the leader of the Party Robert Gladstone
(1809 – 1898)
In 1859, the party officially created and then called the Liberal Democrats.
The Reform Act had an impact on the Whig party, they had to accept other classes
(middle class members)
Middle-class Values: Samuel Smiles & Protestant (Dissenters) Ethnic
Samuel Smiles 1812 – 1904
- The qualities required to be an accomplished person (self-made man)
according to him were
o Common sense
o Perseverance
o Altruism
o A taste for saving
o Frugality
o Oder
o Punctuality and so on
John Stuart Mill’s Philosophy of Political and Economic Organization
John Stuart Mill’s Principle of Political Economy, first published in 1848, the
handbook of mid-Victorian liberalism, put the point in a nutshell: “Laissez-faire, in
short, should be the general practice: every departure form it, unless required by
some great good, is a certain evil”.
The presumption was that the State should stand aside the individual who thus
could and should stand alone. Individualism, self-respect, self-reliance, and the
organization of voluntary and co-operative societies, these were the keynotes of
mid-Victorian liberalism.
Lib-Lab (Liberal Labour) Members of Parliament
à Working-class people supported the Liberals along with the Middle class as they
had common interests = the repealing of the Corn Laws and the franchise. The Middle
class obtained the franchise with the 1832 and 1867 Reform Acts. Part of the working
class got it with the third Reform Act of 1884.
The representation of the People Act of 1884, reformed the constituencies. They
were more numerous and had just one MP and not several as before.
There were, therefore, working class constituencies.
13 Working class liberal party candidates were elected (there is no Labour party
yet) in 1885 with the support of the trade unions and the Labour Representation
Most of the elected Lib-Labs were from the mining areas of Britain.
Yet striking workers were not compatible with Liberal free trade values and the
Lib-Labs understood they needed their own party as the Liberal party was more
and more the party of their bosses
à LIB-LAB Workers and Bosses sided in order to repeal the Corn Laws because of the
high cost of living à starvation and not enough money to eat.
à We can notice a democracy in progress with the right to vote for the middle class
in 1832 ( but without the workers who are allowed to vote in 1844 In 1885, it is the 1st
time workers enter the Parliament and they get to vote for Liberals members (all
because of the Industrial Revolution)
Gladstone’s Irish Rule Split
In the 1870s Ireland sought autonomy from Westminster. A Home Rule League
was created in 1873 to support that claim. Irish Catholics wanted their land back as it
had been given to protestant Englishman under Cromwell. Gladstone presented a first
Home Rule Bill in 1886 which was rejected, it led to his defeat in the following elections.
Once re-elected he presented a new Home Rule Bill in 1893. It was rejected by the
House of Lords. Gladstone resigned. The conservative then tried to solve the problem
in a soft way by giving back some land, but to no avail as the issue had become
political and lead to the creation of the Republic of Ireland in the 20th century.
The first Home Rule Bill lead to the defeat of Gladstone’s Liberal Party as a
faction of his party called the Liberal Unionists, did not agree with him on the Irish
Question. They were against the Home Rule Bill. Hence, they joined the Conservatives
to win the 1886 elections.
The Prime Minister
In the 18th century, a development that followed logically from the increasing
autonomy of the ministers vis-à-vis the monarch was the rise of a senior minister
to run the Cabinet, and ultimately to define government policy.
Called the “Chief Minister”, or the “first minister”, he was finally called the “Prime
Minister”, a title still in use today.
The first politician to deserve this name was Sir Robert Walpole, who remained
in office for a solid twenty years (1721-1742), and who, more than anyone, was
responsible for creating the prime ministerial office. A highly significant feature
is that Walpole insisted on sitting in the Commons, whereas his predecessors in
high office had preferred to sit in the more prestigious Upper House, the House
of Lords.
This choice of Walpole’s is telling of his shrewd political sense; he had clearly
grasped that the true seat of power, in 18th century Britain, was indeed in the
Lower House, and that a politician who acted to get hold of the levers of Power
could not afford to sit with the peers of the realm.
The Prime Minister’s role became increasingly important in Victorian time
à In the 18th century, role of Prime Minister emerged and the Cabinet needed a
leader 1 st prime Minister, R.Walpole decided not to sit in the House of Lords but instead
in the House of Commons (he knew the shift was coming and the HoC would become
more powerful)
à The 19th century was dominated by Whig or Liberal Primes Ministers, or rather Prime
Ministers heading coalitions composed of up to four parties (Whigs, radicals, Liberals,
Peelites after 1846). The support from these coalitions was always liable to
disintegration. The classic mid-Victorian pattern would be as follows: a coalition
government was made up of all or most of the above groups, comprising and
bargaining until they could agree no more and a point of breakdown was reached:
the government would go out of office without dissolving Parliament; the Tories would
then form a minority government, during which the non-tory groups would resolve their
differences, defeat the Tories, force a dissolution, win the general election, and resume
power… this overall pattern explains the minority Tory ministries of 1852, 1858-59 and
1866-68 (Derby, Disraeli)
2.Trade Unionism and the Labour Movement
1. The Background You Must Know
2. Trade Unions
3. The Mining Industry: a Case in Point
4. The Labour Party
In the 18th century, there were a few attempts at creating a labour party but they
mostly failed. The trade Unionism was opposed to the Government and the 1st Trade
Unions were small, local and could unite to be bigger à UNITED WE STAND, DIVIDED
1. The Background You Must Know
From “Lower-class” to Working-class
The history of Trade Unions goes back to the period of the industrial Revolution
and the formation of the late 18th century of a clearly defined working class.
It appeared especially in the Woollen industry, when the ideas for workers to
get organized in order to defend their rights, obtain better working conditions,
better wages, a better life appeared.
As early as the 18th century machine spinners in industrial Lancashire were
organized into Unions (in the 1790’s), and there was even an attempt at
federation in 1792. Before the 1820’s they were usually organisations of single
crafts in single towns, with fewer than 500 members, and very likely to be friendly
societies in addition to their trade interests.
à Repression was important: the Combination Acts of 1799 and 1800 made
prosecution easier by providing for summary conviction. Three months imprisonment
or two months hard labour were the usual penalties, considered as mild against seven
years transportation under the previous law (1797 Mutiny Act). The combination Acts
forbade combination amongst the masters (to reduce wages), but the authorities
refused to take action whenever there was an action against masters: there was an
obvious strong class bias.
Working-class children as a work force and political issue
The death rate among children under 6 was nearly 70 % in 1851. For the aristocracy,
the small nobility and the middle class, things were naturally different. They had less
à However the second half of the 19th century and more particularly the last two
decades showed a decline in birth rates which is to be explained by the fact that
industrial countries have less children than countries which economy is based on
Average of 6 children per family
Average of 4 children per family
42 000 children registered as having an
21 000 children registered as having an
2.5 million children
3 million children
Conclusion : child work was declining. Some people also advocated that
compulsory education was one of the reasons to have less children as education
had to be paid for, but the phenomenon continued even after 1891 when chooling
became free.
2.Trade Unions
“Nothing, it has often been said, succeeds like success; and the marvellous success of
free-trade, as recently carried out in this country, has made it necessary for persons
who contend for restrictions in any branch of business to stand on the defensive. But it
does not follow, as a matter of course, that because free-trade has succeeded in one
sphere, it ought to be applied out and out in every sphere. In the main, free-trade is a
question of expediency. The only principle of a moral or religious nature applicable to
it is, that it is the will of God that the superabundant products or commodities of one
region should be readily available for the supply of other regions, and that it is a sin to
frustrate this benevolent purpose by artificial restrictions, designed to promote the
interests of a class.”
à The prosperity which came to Victorian Britain with the building of the railways and
the establishment of free trade was shared by the workers in the form of higher wages,
shorter hours, and more regular employment-but only to an extent which would
nowadays seem very small and unfair.
à Their share in this prosperity would have been even smaller than it was if the workers
had not made tremendous efforts to form special organizations to protect their
interests, both against employers, who naturally wished to keep down the wages they
had to pay, and also against unscrupulous shopkeepers, who often overcharged the
poorer classes Early trade unions were small. Nevertheless, trade unions and strikes
developed in the 1820’s and 1830’s
Friendly Societies
Trade Unionism appeared strongly with the notion of class consciousness in the
1815 – 1820’s.
Several strikes (then called “turn-outs”) were organized in 1808, 1810 in order to
“equalize” rates to Manchester rates.
Friendly societies, co-operative and trade unions represent three of the major
organisations through which workers attempted to ameliorate their position
within an increasingly industrial society. The movements were not always easily
separable, actually. When trade unions were illegal, such associations were
often established under the guise of a friendly society.
à The friendly societies were meant to protect working people and their families
against prolonged or chronic illness, injury at work or an early and unexpected death.
In fact, they served the two ends of social welfare and social solidarity.
à They are part of the Liberals but also need to support the Labour Party/members,
but there are tensions rising (because the workers go on strike and piss off the bosses)
creation of Trade Unions , even though still illegal and forbidden because the
Parliament fear riots and the Red Parrel (revolution from the working class) So, the
workers realise they need to create a new party which would be supported by the
Trade Unions and function in a democratic way the emergence of consciousness.
The Combination Acts of 1799 and 1800 which declared all trade unions illegal.
These acts were repealed in 1824, but there was such an outburst of strikes that
the repealing was partly restricted in 1825.
The 1830's saw some renewed attempts at starting important trade unions. Most
attempts were failures.
Robert Owen, for example tried to create a Grand National Union in 1834,
joined by half a million people. He had noticed that local strikes were not very
efficient, but big ones were.
However, the union was wrecked by internal strife and disappeared. Between
1838 and 1848 the Great Chartist movement put to the fore the will of the
workers to defend their rights.
But industrialists clashed with the chartists around the 10 hours movement,
which stated that workers would only work 10 hours a day. The Chartist
movement ended in 1848. Trade Unions were forbidden for a long time.
However, the spirit did not die.
à Francis Place (1771-1854) drafted the People’s Chart (hence the name of the
movement), of which the main object was to demand the parliamentary vote for
every men.
à The newly formed Trade Unions Congress (T.U.C.) held its first meeting in 1868.
Unionisation at first was not on a general principle, but mainly based on skilled workers
and craftsmen seeking to protect their jobs and positions on the labour market). Some
power had been granted to workers in 1867. The main change that occurred after
that recognition was the creation of many unskilled and semiskilled workers unions
It is in the 1870's that the complete right to exist was granted to trade unions.
With the Trade Unions Act of 1871, trade unions became legally recognized, but
this recognition was limited as they gained immunity (the right not to be
prosecuted) but not a full political and social status.
In 1875 the Conspiracy and Protection of Property Act, legalized the right to
strike, and abolished the notion that a social movement is a "conspiracy", but
cutting gas or water or attacking private persons or property was still considered
a criminal offence.
à Because they were banned, the Friendly Societies (social aspect) were created to
cover the Trade Unions, officially they were to discuss about social matters but in
reality, it worked the same as a TU (political aspect)
Laws Favourable to Working-class Employees
à Employers did not favour such acts as in some factories 2/3 of the
employees were children. Yet, despite the resistances, the acts were passed
and slowly regulated the working hours of women and children. These acts
stipulated that children under 9 could not work more than 12 hours a day
(1819), it forbade night work for people under 21 (1831), children under 14
could not work more than 8 hours a day (1833), children between 9 and 13
could not work more than 61/2 hours a day, no child under 8 was allowed to
work (1844), women and children under 18 could not work more than 10 hours
a day (1847), women and children under 18 could only work between 6am
and 6pm in the textile industry (1850) etc.
Acts of Parliament
Conspiracy and
Protection of Property Act
Employers and Workmen
Miners Acts
Date of Vote
1842 – 1860 – 1872
Factory Workers Act
1864 – 1867 – 1878
Decriminalises the Trade
Replaced the Master and
Servant Act
Women and children
under 10 à Forbidden in
mines in 1842. Then,
improvement of security
in mines
Protection of male,
female and children
Employers’ Liability Act
Compensation by the
employer when an
employee has an
accident at work
The use of children in working à no control in the system, no pension, no help from
the bosses and didn't care about improving their situation.
à Education Act in 1870 and demographic boom in the 19th.
After the intervention of the Trade Unions, quality of life improved and the repel of the
Corn Laws is effective (people can consume again)
Trade Unions aimed at negotiate with the bosses about higher wages/short hours and
regular employment
3. The Mining Industry: a Case in Point
à Mines had special problems. Among these, safety was perhaps the biggest. There
were frequent gas explosion since the Davy safety lamp (which had existed for some
time) was not compulsory; the accident rate was one of the highest: about 1 death
per 900 workers on average. Small children, both boys and girls, sometimes as young
as 4 years old, were employed underground hauling trucks full of coal along passages
that were too low for adults.
To try and introduce some kind of legislative rules for mine-owners, a Royal
commission was set up in 1840.
The Royal Commission Report, which came out in 1842 revealed some
appalling details: a 12-year-old girl had to carry a hundredweight of coal on
her back, stopping and creeping through water in a low tunnel; children had
to climb dangerous ladders up the pit shaft with huge baskets of coal strapped
on their backs.
The report also expressed outrage that naked and seminaked men, women,
girls and boys (because of the heat in mines, combined with a usually poor
ventilation system) all worked together, which had a demoralizing effect on the
women and girls.
à The 1842 Mine report had an almost immediate effect: its most visible consequence
was the vote by Parliament of the Mines Act of 1842. Though considerably weakened
by the House of Lords (among which there were several mine-owners), the Act: −
forbade the employment of women and girls in the mine − forbade the employment
of boys under 10 − Created one post of inspector, whose task consisted in enforcing
the provisions. This was obviously inadequate
4. The Labour Party
à Historically, the Labour Party was created by –and for- the Trade Unions in 1906.
Whereas in other European countries the socialist parties created the trade unions, it
worked the other way round in Britain.
à The 1867 electoral reform had given the franchise to urban workers, but very soon
the working class realized the Tories/Liberals was not an appropriate choice to
promote its interests in Parliament.
à A miner himself at the age of 10, he founded a newspaper The Miner in 1887 to
promote his ideas. The end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century
saw the emergence of this new party
à The Scottish unionist Keir Hardie (1856-1915) was the first to understand that trade
unions could no longer trust the Liberals to defend the rights of the working class. That
was the reason why he founded the Scottish Labour Party in 1888
à They win the election in the 20th century. KARL MARX (with Frederick Engles) studied
the emergence of the working class and the labour party Frederick Engles wrote the
conditions of the working class in 1884 and a manifesto of the communist party HOME
RULE Reminder à English= Saxon / Irish = Celts (Catholics)
The Irish wanted autonomy from Westminster à needed a Home Rule for
Independence which caused a division into the Liberal party and some members to
go to the opposite party.
Political Profile of British Society Circa 1840s
l force
Origin of
t to
trade, bank
Industrial &
work force
à High
Church –
or not
t Churches
t Churches