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The Inheritance
Reform to 1850
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The Voice of Radicalism

Socialism - 1850-1900

After 1885, increasing numbers of working class trade unionists and politicians believed that even radical Liberals could never satisfy their needs.

  • Many employers were Liberals and did not like trade unions
  • Most Liberals, though believing that all adults should have the vote, did not agree with economic equality, or robbing the rich to pay the poor
  • Many Liberals were opposed to an eight-hour working day and six-day week. This aim was central to trade union policy.

Socialists believed there should be working class political parties. In 1892, the Aberdeen Trades’ Council broke with the Liberals and formed the Scottish Trades’ Council Labour Party.

At a South Aberdeen by-election in 1892 the Trades Council nominated

Henry Champion as their candidate. He was the leader of the Social Democratic Federation (SDF), a Marxist Party. The non-Marxist Independent Labour Party (ILP), founded by Keir Hardie was less popular in Aberdeen than elsewhere. In 1894 the Trades’ Council, the SDF and the ILP agreed to put up candidates in the local elections.

The socialists were not very successful. In order to secure their election, they forced Liberal MPs in Aberdeen North to support causes popular with working class voters.

William Hunter

Hunter was a lawyer, and M.P. for Aberdeen North from 1885 to 1898. Hewon his seat with the support of the Trades’ Council and the Radical Association. He:

  • Established the Peoples’ League for the Abolition of the House of Lords
  • Introduced a Scottish Home Rule bill
  • Believed that the huge estates in the Highlands should be taken out of individual control and instead be run by the state (nationalized).

1850-1900 >>

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