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The three major changes that affected the political powers in england and france

Bring fact-checked results to the top of your browser search. Liberalism in the 19th century As an ideology and in practice liberalism became the preeminent reform movement in Europe during the 19th century. The national character of a liberal movement could even be affected by religion. Liberalism in Roman Catholic countries such as France, Italy, and Spain, for example, tended to acquire anticlerical overtones, and liberals in those countries tended to favour legislation restricting the civil authority and political power of the Catholic clergy.

In Great Britain the Whigs had evolved by the mid-19th century into the Liberal Partywhose reformist programs became the model for liberal political parties throughout Europe. The liberal project of broadening the franchise in Britain bore fruit in the Reform Bills of 1832, 1867, and 1884—85.

The sweeping reforms achieved by Liberal Party governments led by William Gladstone for 14 years between 1868 and 1894 marked the apex of British liberalism. Culver Pictures Liberalism in continental Europe often lacked the fortuitous combination of broad popular support and a powerful liberal party that it had in Britain. After the Bourbon Restoration in 1815, however, French liberals were faced with the decades-long task of securing constitutional liberties and enlarging popular participation in government under a reestablished monarchygoals not substantially achieved until the formation of the Third Republic in 1871.

Throughout Europe and in the Western Hemisphereliberalism inspired nationalistic aspirations to the creation of unified, independent, constitutional states with their own parliaments and the rule of law.

  • In cases of emergency, a body with an ad hoc membership, usually chaired by the Prime Minister or the Home Secretary, is convened in the Cabinet Office in a location which is equivalent to the Situation Room in the White House;
  • But the religious situation still wasn't stable.

But the failure of the Revolutions of 1848 highlighted the comparative weakness of liberalism on the Continent. The liberal-inspired unification of Italy was delayed until the 1860s by the armies of Austria and of Napoleon III of France and by the opposition of the Vatican. The United States presented a quite different situation, because there was neither a monarchy, an aristocracynor an established church against which liberalism could react.

In Europe, by contrast, liberalism was a transforming force throughout the 19th century. Industrialization and modernization, for which classical liberalism provided ideological justification, wrought great changes. The feudal system fell, a functionless aristocracy lost its privileges, and monarchs were challenged and curbed.

Capitalism replaced the static economies of the Middle Ages, and the middle class was left free to employ its energies by expanding the means of production and vastly increasing the wealth of society. As liberals set about limiting the power of the monarchy, they converted the ideal of constitutional governmentaccountable to the people through the election of representatives, into a reality.

Modern liberalism Problems of market economies By the end of the 19th century, some unforeseen but serious consequences of the Industrial Revolution in Europe and North America had produced a deepening disenchantment with the principal economic basis of classical liberalism—the ideal of a market economy. The main problem was that the profit system had concentrated vast wealth in the hands of a relatively small number of industrialists and financiers, with several adverse consequences. First, great masses of people failed to benefit from the wealth flowing from factories and lived in poverty in vast slums.

Second, because the greatly expanded system of production created many goods and services that people often could not afford to buy, markets became glutted and the system periodically came to a near halt in periods of stagnation that came to be called depressions.

Finally, those who owned or managed the means of production had acquired enormous economic power that they used to influence and control government, to manipulate an inchoate electorate, to limit competition, and to obstruct substantive social reform.

In short, some of the same forces that had once released the productive energies of Western society now restrained them; some of the very energies that had demolished the power of despots now nourished a new despotism. The modern liberal program Such, at any rate, was the verdict reached by an increasing number of liberals in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

  1. For its liberal opponents, compulsion threatened Britain with self-defeat, forcing it to militarise society and so become too like its principal enemy, Germany.
  2. The sweeping reforms achieved by Liberal Party governments led by William Gladstone for 14 years between 1868 and 1894 marked the apex of British liberalism. Their recovery was founded in part on their readiness to embrace social reform.
  3. The most radical proposal for constitutional change - supported especially by the Liberal Democrat Party - is that the country should now have a formal written constitution, presumably following some sort of constitutional convention and possibly a referendum. The Coalition Government of 2010-2015 passed legislation to provide for fixed five-year parliaments which meant that the next General Election was scheduled for May 2020.

As noted above, modern liberals held that the point of government is to remove the obstacles that stand in the way of individual freedom. In this they followed the lead of thinkers and reformers such as the British political philosopher T.

  • In any case, high religious tension made it harder to govern than it might have been, and was one of the reasons Charles and parliament had a major falling out;
  • Charles I 1625-1649 Charles was under constant pressure to help protestants in France and the Holy Roman Empire, but parliament wouldn't vote to provide the funds to support the wars they themselves insisted need to be fought;
  • To simplify British political history very much, it has essentially been a struggle to shift political power and accountability from the all-powerful king - who claimed that he obtained his right to rule from God - to a national parliament that was increasingly representative of ordinary people and accountable to ordinary people;
  • At the time that Margaret Thatcher became Conservative Prime Minister in 1979, the British civil service numbered almost 800,000, but successive governments have cut the service and it is now 427,000 which is 1;
  • World War One may not have initiated democratic change, but it determined its timing.

According to Green, the excessive powers of government may have constituted the greatest obstacles to freedom in an earlier day, but by the middle of the 19th century these powers had been greatly reduced or mitigated.

The time had come, therefore, to recognize hindrances of another kind—such as poverty, disease, discriminationand ignorance—which individuals could overcome only with the positive assistance of government. The new liberal program was thus to enlist the powers of government in the cause of individual freedom. As the term Darwinists indicates, these writers thought of politics, economics, and society in general in evolutionary terms.

Like Paine, they regarded government as at best a necessary evil—not, however, because it coerces but because it too often interferes with the struggle for survival that nature imposes on human beings the three major changes that affected the political powers in england and france much as on other species see natural selection. Helping the poor and the weak, they argued, impedes individual freedom and retards social progress by holding back the strong and the fit.

They saw no reason for a fixed line eternally dividing the private and public sectors of the economy; the division, they contended, must be made by reference to what works. The spectre of regimentation in centrally planned economies and the dangers of bureaucracy even in mixed economies deterred them from jettisoning the market and substituting a putatively omnicompetent state.

On the other hand—and this is a basic difference between classical and modern liberalism—most liberals came to recognize that the operation of the market needed to be supplemented and corrected. The new liberals asserted, first, that the rewards dispensed by the market were too crude a measure of the contribution most people made to society and, second, that the market ignored the needs of those who lacked opportunity or who were economically exploited. They contended that the enormous social costs incurred in production were not reflected in market prices and that resources were often used wastefully.

Not least, liberals perceived that the market biased the allocation of human and physical resources toward the satisfaction of consumer appetites—e.

Balance of power

Finally, although liberals believed that prices, wagesand profits should continue to be subject to negotiation among the interested parties and responsive to conventional market pressures, they insisted that price-wage-profit decisions affecting the economy as a whole must be reconciled with public policy.

Greater equality of wealth and income To achieve what they took to be a more just distribution of wealth and incomeliberals relied on two major strategies. First, they promoted the organization of workers into trade unions in order to improve their power to bargain with employers.

Such a redistribution of power had political as well as economic consequences, making possible a multiparty system in which at least one party was responsive to the interests of wage earners.

Second, with the political support of the economically deprived, liberals introduced a variety of government-funded social services. Meeting these objectives required a redistribution of wealth that was to be achieved by a graduated income tax and inheritance taxwhich affected the wealthy more than they did the poor.

Social welfare measures such as these were first enacted by the decidely nonliberal government of Otto von Bismarck in Germany in the late 19th century, but liberal governments soon adopted them in other countries of northern and western Europe.

In the United States such measures were not adopted at the federal level until passage of the Social Security Act of 1935. Europe was reshaped by the Treaty of Versailles on the principle of national self-determination, which in practice meant the breakup of the German, Austro-Hungarian, and Ottoman empires into nationally homogeneous states.

The League of Nations was created in the hope that negotiation would replace war as a means of settling international disputes. But the trauma of the war had created widespread disillusionment about the entire liberal view of progress toward a more humane world.

In Italy, meanwhile, dissatisfaction with the peace settlement led directly to the takeover by the Fascist Party in 1922. Liberalism was also threatened by Soviet communismwhich seemed to many to have inherited the hopes for progress earlier associated with liberalism itself. While liberalism came under political attack in the interwar period, the Great Depression threatened the very survival of the market economy. The boom-and-bust character of the business cycle had long been a major defect of market economies, but the Great Depression, with its seemingly endless downturn in business activity and its soaring levels of unemploymentconfounded classical economists and produced real pessimism about the viability of capitalism.

The wrenching hardships inflicted by the Great Depression eventually convinced Western governments that complex modern societies needed some measure of rational economic planning. The New Deal 1933—39the domestic program undertaken by Pres.

A British Revolution in the 19th Century?

Roosevelt to lift the United States out of the Great Depression, typified modern liberalism in its vast expansion of the scope of governmental activities and its increased regulation of business. Among the measures that New Deal legislation provided were emergency assistance and temporary jobs to the unemployed, restrictions on banking and financial industries, more power for trade unions to organize and bargain with employers, and establishment of the Social Security program of retirement benefits and unemployment and disability insurance.

In his influential work The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money 1936the liberal British economist John Maynard Keynes introduced an economic theory that argued that government management of the economy could smooth out the highs and lows of the business cycle to produce more or less consistent growth with minimal unemployment. Library of Congress, Washington, D. Great Britain, the United States, and other Western industrialized nations committed their national governments to promoting full employment, the maximum use of their industrial capacity, and the maximum purchasing power of their citizenry.

Here, clearly, was a program less disruptive of class harmony and the basic consensus essential to a democracy than the old Robin Hood method of taking from the rich and giving to the poor. A further and final expansion of social welfare programs occurred in the liberal democracies during the postwar decades.

Johnson as part of his Great Society program of national reforms. These measures created the modern welfare statewhich provided not only the usual forms of social insurance but also pensions, unemployment benefits, subsidized medical care, family allowances, and government-funded higher education. The new nations almost invariably adopted constitutions and established parliamentary governments, believing that these institutions would lead to the same freedom and prosperity that had been achieved in Europe.

The Peel Web

The results, however, were mixed, with genuine parliamentary democracy taking root in some countries but succumbing in many others to military or socialist dictatorships.

Contemporary liberalism The revival of classical liberalism The three decades of unprecedented general prosperity that the Western world experienced after World War II marked the high tide of modern liberalism. But the slowing of economic growth that gripped most Western countries beginning in the mid-1970s presented a serious challenge to modern liberalism.

By the end of that decade economic stagnation, combined with the cost of maintaining the social benefits of the welfare state, pushed governments increasingly toward politically untenable levels of taxation and mounting debt.

Equally troubling was the fact that the Keynesian economics practiced by many governments seemed to lose its effectiveness. Governments continued to spend money on programs aimed at stimulating economic growth, but the result too often was increased inflation and ever-smaller declines in unemployment rates. As modern liberals struggled to meet the challenge of stagnating living standards in mature industrial economies, others saw an opportunity for a revival of classical liberalism.

The intellectual foundations of this revival were primarily the work of the Austrian-born British economist Friedrich von Hayek and the American economist Milton Friedman. He also famously argued, in The Road to Serfdom 1944that interventionist measures aimed at the redistribution of wealth lead inevitably to totalitarianism. Friedman, as one of the founders of the modern monetarist school of economics, held that the business cycle is determined mainly by the supply of money and by interest rates, rather than by government fiscal policy —contrary to the long-prevailing view of Keynes and his followers.

These arguments were enthusiastically embraced by the major conservative political parties in Britain and the United States, which had never abandoned the classical liberal conviction that the market, for all its faults, guides economic policy better than governments do. Revitalized conservatives achieved power with the lengthy administrations of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher 1979—90 in Britain and Pres.

Overview: Britain and World War One, 1901 - 1918

Ronald Reagan 1981—89 in the United States. Bill Clinton in the 1990s.

Reform in Britain 1870-1914

Civil rights and social issues Contemporary liberalism remains deeply concerned with reducing economic inequalities and helping the poor, but it also has tried to extend individual rights in new directions. With the exception of the utilitarians, liberals have always invoked the concept of rights to argue against tyranny and oppression; but in the later 20th century claims to rights became the most common way of articulating struggles for social justice.

  • A free media - As long as they are not being libelous, newspapers, radio and television can say what they want about the Parliament, the Government and politicians;
  • Ironically, the war's demands also weakened the exercise of constitutional government, albeit temporarily;
  • The importance of actually being present to vote in the manner instructed depends on whether the 'whip' is one-line, two-line or - the most serious - three-line;
  • However, the monarch has very few formal powers and stays above party politics;
  • Constitutionally the head of state is the monarch who is a hereditary member of the Royal Family.

In the 1970s there arose similar movements struggling for equal rights for womengays and lesbiansthe physically or mentally disabled, and other minorities or disadvantaged social groups.

For example, the relaxation in most developed countries of long-standing restrictions on contraceptiondivorceabortionand homosexuality was inspired in part by the traditional liberal insistence on individual choice.

In similar fashion, the liberal emphasis on the right to freedom of speech led to the loosening of inherited restrictions on sexual content and expression in works of art and culture see censorship.