Gladstone and the Logic of Victorian Politics

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Anthem Press, 2010 - Biography & Autobiography - 452 pages
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This book provides a thorough analysis of the political career of William Gladstone, one of the most intriguing and controversial figures in modern British history. 'Gladstone and the Logic of Victorian Politics' captures the incredible richness and range of Gladstone's political journey, tracing his evolution from idealistic Tory defender of a theocratic Anglican state, through his transformation into Peelite financial administrator, reforming Liberal Prime Minister, populist champion of the 'masses against the classes', and culminating in his strenuous yet schismatic attempt to bring Home Rule to Ireland. Each stage in Gladstone's development is fully assessed in the light both of recent historiographical debates and Gladstone's own complex reflections upon his own actions.

Throughout, serious attention is devoted to the intellectual processes that shaped Gladstone's political practice. Gladstone was unique, not merely in the longevity of his career, but in his determination to reason through his responses to problems in the light of his extensive reading, his study of ancient literature, and his profoundly held religious convictions. As such this book provides an ideal entry point into the Victorian world and Gladstone's thinking about such questions as financial policy, the relevance of morality to foreign policy, the claims of national sentiment, Britain's responsibility as an imperial power, and the role of public opinion in policy making. The conclusions he arrived at cannot be ignored by anyone interested in nineteenth century history - or, indeed, the political challenges confronting Britain and the world in the twenty-first century.


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From High Tory to Reforming Peelite 184151
The Struggle for Peelite Finance 18511855
Years of Decision 185559
From Iron Chancellor to Peoples Tribune 18591865
The Rise to Leadership 18651868
Gladstones Foreign Policy 18681880
Gladstonian Liberalism
Gladstone and Ireland 18801885
Gladstone and Irish Home Rule
Raging against
A Study in Victorian Dialectic

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About the author (2010)

Dr Ian St John worked with David Butler at Oxford on the 1997 Nuffield Election Study and assisted Martin Westlake in the writing of ‘Kinnock: The Biography’ (Little Brown, 2001). He has taught history at Haberdashers’ Aske’s School, Hertfordshire since 2000. His chief research interests are in Victorian history, in which he has published several articles including ‘Queen Victoria as a Politician’, in ‘The Historian’ (2003); ‘Disraeli’s Foreign Policy’ in ‘New Perspective’ (2003); and ‘Disraeli and Social Reform’ in ‘Modern History Review’ (2004). He has recently been engaged in studying Churchill’s attitudes towards India, contributing a chapter entitled ‘Writing to the Defence of India: Churchill’s Use of the Press in his Campaign Against Indian Reform, 1929-35’ to C Kaul (ed), ‘Media and the British Empire’ (Macmillan, 2005).

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