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Title: Halifax politics, 1890-1914
Author: Dawson, P. A.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3418 7369
Awarding Body: Huddersfield Polytechnic
Current Institution: University of Huddersfield
Date of Award: 1987
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The purpose of this study is to present a survey and examination of the political developments in the West Yorkshire industrial centre of Halifax between 1890 and 1914. It is produced within the context of the debate concerning the timing and reasons for the change-over of national support from Liberal and Conservative to Labour and Conservative in the first quarter of the twentieth century, and the impact of the emergence of the Labour Party in the 1890s. The main objective is to determine if the local Liberal Party was already in decline before 1914. There are two major questions. First, was the party able to sustain its working-class support and predominant local position by introducing • progressive , policies? Or, secondly, did it lose support because it failed to change its traditional emphasis and was undermined by the incursions from the vigorous working-class Labour and business-directed Conservative parties? A further objective is to discover the reasons for the establishment and growth of the local Labour movement, together with its consequent political implications, and to establish the causes for the advance of Halifax Conservatism. Several local political features are studied including the changes in socio-economic and political structures, party policies, organisation and tactics - at both general and local elections. This was a vital period for Halifax politics in which the entrenched, formerly • paternalistic , and employer-run Liberal Party received challenges from both the left and the right. Possibly the most important local event was the emer.qence of a trade-union dominated Labour movement in 1892, which arose as a response to the divisive strike situation of the late nineteenth century and was underpinned by a rising working-class consciousness. Thereafter, the new party began to erode the Liberals' working-class Radical support and, as a side-effect, benefited the Tories through· the split-vote system. At the same time, Conservatism began to advance slowly, though fitfully, drawing in the middle-class business vote by its patriotic, protectionist and municipal retrenchment policies. On the 'other hand, Liberalism proved to be increasingly unattractive to both the working classes and the middle classes. The former voters were disillusioned by the continued traditionalistic emphasis of the party which widened its policies but did not fully embrace 'progressive' principles. The latter, conversely, viewed Municipal Liberal 'advanced' initiatives to be too extreme and expensive, particularly on the rates. Therefore, although the Liberals applied political tactics, they could not prevent the party's gradual political decline before 1914.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Political history of Halifax