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About this Lecture
In this module, we think about the change in support for the Liberal Party (and the Liberal Democrats) between 1859-2017, focusing in particular on: (i) the huge success of the Liberal Party between 1859-1914; (ii) the drop in support for the Liberal Party after the First World War; (iii) the electoral struggles of the Liberal Party after the Second World War; (iv) the resurgence of the Liberal vote in the 1970s and 1980s; (v) the electoral success of the Liberal Democrats in the 1990s and 2000s, culminating in the election of 57 MPs in the 2010 General Election; and (vi) the severe decline in support for the Liberal Democrats from 2015 onwards.
In this course, Dr Matthew Cole (University of Birmingham) explores the history of the Liberal Party – and the later Liberal Democrat Party – from its foundation in 1859 until 2017. We begin by thinking liberalism as a political ideology, from the concepts of rationalism and consent outlined by John Locke to the major policy achievements of the 20th century that were grounded in liberal ideology. After that, in the second module, we think about the different phases of leadership of the Liberal Party, from William Gladstone in the 19th century to Nick Clegg in the 21st. In the third module, we think about the organisation of the Liberal Party, focusing in particular on its willingness to work with other parties – with varying degrees of success – before turning in the fourth module to the development in support for the Liberal Party, from its position as the most popular party in Britain in the 19th century to a party with just 8 MPs after the 2015 General Election.
Matthew Cole is Teaching Fellow in the Department of History at the University of Birmingham. He is a historian of modern Britain with a particular interest in twentieth century constitutional and party politics, and local history.
Cite this Lecture
Cole, M. (2019, September 26). The Liberal Party and the Liberal Democrats, 1859-Present - Support [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/the-liberal-party-and-the-liberal-democrats-1859-2017/support
Cole, Matthew. "The Liberal Party and the Liberal Democrats, 1859-Present – Support." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 26 Sep 2019, https://www.massolit.io/courses/the-liberal-party-and-the-liberal-democrats-1859-2017/support