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The Inheritance
Reform to 1850
Twentieth Century
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The Voice of Radicalism

Radicalism and Conservatism - The Inheritance

Radicalism is seen in Britain as a movement of the left (Socialism), but radicals have always influenced the right (Conservatism). For example:

  • William Gladstone, the Liberal prime minister, split his party over Irish Home Rule (Devolution) in the 1880s
  • Important 19 th century Liberal radicals such as Joseph Chamberlain and John Bright, supported by Duncan McLaren, the leader of Scottish Radicalism, opposed Home Rule. They formed an alliance with the Conservatives and later joined them
  • David Lloyd George, the Liberal MP who introduced the Old Age Pension in 1908, eventually led a Conservative-dominated government
  • Oswald Mosley, the most radical member of the second Labour government of 1929-31, left his party and founded the British Union of Fascists
  • The Conservative Mrs Thatcher, Prime Minister from 1979-1990, challenged the post-1945 welfare state. For this reason, she could be considered a radical.

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