Whigs, Radicals and Gladstonians

  • T. A. Jenkins
Part of the British Studies Series book series (BRSS)


The greatest danger for those seeking to understand the history of the Liberal Party between 1875 and 1880 lies in the natural temptation to allow one’s perceptions of the period to be shaped by the retrospective knowledge of what eventually happened in April 1880. Gladstone’s return to the premiership at that time, after a general election had completely reversed the Liberal defeat of 1874, together with the fact that he then remained as Liberal leader until his final retirement in 1894, have tended to obscure certain interesting features of the party’s position during the second half of the 1870s. In particular, the joint leadership of the party by the Whigs, Granville and Hartington, which survived until after the general election of 1880, has often been overlooked on the assumption that it was a relatively unimportant interlude in a much greater story, that of ‘Gladstonian Liberalism’. Consequently, historians have tended to focus almost entirely on Gladstone’s involvement in the Bulgarian atrocities agitation of 1876, and the dramatic Midlothian campaigns of 1879–80.


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© T. A. Jenkins 1994

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  • T. A. Jenkins

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