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The Labour Party, 1900-Present

1. Origins of the Labour Party to 1945

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About this Lecture

Lecture

In this first module, we think about the history of the Labour Party from its foundation in 1900 to its first majority government of 1945. In particular, we consider the political groupings that combined in 1900 to form the Labour Party and the Party’s principal claim to offer representation to Britain’s working classes. We move on to think about what impact the advent of Labour had on the political landscape of Britain, emphasising its replacement of the Liberal Party as the dominant progressive force in British politics. Next, we consider the significance of the First World War and the Representation of the People Act (1918) in expanding the Labour vote. Finally, we examine Labour’s early experiences of government, first in 1924, and then from 1929 through the Wall Street Crash and Great Depression and into the National Government of 1931-5.

Course

In this course, Dr Kevin Hickson (University of Liverpool) examines the history of the Labour Party from its founding as the Labour Representation Committee in 1900 to the present-day leadership of Jeremy Corbyn. In the first module, we think about the origins and growth of the Labour Party until the end of the Second World War. The second module focuses on the political achievements and enduring legacies of Labour’s first majority government under Clement Attlee, 1945-51. In the third module, we consider the difficulties faced by Harold Wilson and James Callaghan who led Labour governments from 1964-70 and 1974-9. In the fourth module, we think about Labour’s long period in opposition from 1979-97 and try to understand why Labour was so incapable of succeeding in general elections, focusing in particular on the legacy of the 1974-9 Wilson/Callaghan governments. Finally, in the fifth module, we think about the period from 1997 to the present, focusing in particular on the phenomenon of New Labour and the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn.

Lecturer

Dr Kevin Hickson is a Senior Lecturer in Politics at the University of Liverpool. His teaching and research interests are in the field of British politics, political history and political ideologies.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Hickson, K. (2019, September 26). The Labour Party, 1900-Present - Origins of the Labour Party to 1945 [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/the-labour-party-1900-present/origins-of-the-labour-party-to-1945

MLA style

Hickson, Kevin. "The Labour Party, 1900-Present – Origins of the Labour Party to 1945." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 26 Sep 2019, https://www.massolit.io/courses/the-labour-party-1900-present/origins-of-the-labour-party-to-1945