Working class political integration and the Conservative Party : a study of class relations and party political development in the North-West, 1800-1870
The thesis is primarily concerned with the investigation of inter-related themes. Firstly, it sets out to examine the changing nature and role of the Conservative party in the decades immediately following the 1832 Reform Act up until the advent of householder franchise and the Second Reform Act of 1867. The main contention is that political parties after the First Reform Act began to display many of the features and functions which political scientists of our own age see as the essential traits of ndern party structures. One key area in which the Conservative party revealed these traits of ITodernity was in the way the party in the localities began to integrate sections of the industrial working class into the party structure, a phenomenon which had not occurred before 1832. This leads us on to our second central theme, namely the description of the political developiient of the vrking class of the North-West region with specific reference as to why some sections of the industrial working class began to support and join the Conservative party after 1832. The thesis is divided into two sections. The first is concerned with the changing nature of Conservatism and vrking class developaent, and the second with a series of coiarative case studies. These examine developents in three different types of urban centres of the North-West region. We look firstly at the county and market towns, secondly at an industrial borough with an established working class electorate, and finally we examine those boroughs created by the Act of 1832. The thesis ends with a chapter which aims to provide a concluding analysis.