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By Mike Byrne

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The ‘Whig’ Party This had been the dominant party of government since the Great Reform Act of 1832. Although seen generally as more progressive in attitude than the Conservatives, its leadership contained many aristocratic elements drawn from some of the oldest families in the country. So although it had been associated with important reforms in the past it was nevertheless basically traditional and even ‘conservative’ in outlook. The ‘Peelites’ The Peelites were supporters of Sir Robert Peel, who had headed a great Conservative Reforming Ministry from 1841 to 1846.

Although seen generally as more progressive in attitude than the Conservatives, its leadership contained many aristocratic elements drawn from some of the oldest families in the country. So although it had been associated with important reforms in the past it was nevertheless basically traditional and even ‘conservative’ in outlook. The ‘Peelites’ The Peelites were supporters of Sir Robert Peel, who had headed a great Conservative Reforming Ministry from 1841 to 1846. Peel had reduced taxes on imports and exports drastically and had introduced the first peacetime income tax.

In defending this tariff, Chamberlain hoped to undermine the inviolability of free trade, which he saw as outdated. This speech occurred just before a Colonial Conference at which Chamberlain failed to convince the visiting Prime Ministers of the case for greater imperial integration. In the autumn of 1902 he left on a tour of South Africa that turned out to be a considerable success. Returning in early 1903 Chamberlain 22 | Britain 1890–1924 prepared himself for the launching of his great crusade.

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Access to History. Britain 1890-1924 2ed by Mike Byrne


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