Labour party

Origins

The Labour party was founded in 1900 after several generations of preparatory trade union politics made possible by the Reform Bills of 1867 and 1884, which enfranchised urban workers. Although the Labour Representation League, organized in 1869, elected parliamentary representatives, they were absorbed into the Liberal party. A Marxist organization, the Social Democratic Federation, was founded by H. M. Hyndman in 1881; but more important for the history of the Labour party was the founding of the Fabian Society (1883) and the Independent Labour party (ILP; 1893). With the help of the Fabian Society and the Trades Union Congress, the ILP in 1900 set up the Labour Representation Committee, renamed the Labour party in 1906. The new party elected 29 members to Parliament in 1906; in the two elections of 1910 it elected 40 and 42. Its strength lay in the industrial North and in Welsh mining areas; the evolutionary socialism espoused by the Fabians was the dominant ideology.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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