Liberal party

Origins

The Liberal party was an outgrowth of the Whig party that, after the Reform Bill of 1832 (see Reform Acts), joined with the bulk of enfranchised industrialists and business classes to form a political alliance that, over the next few decades, came to be called the Liberal party. Much of the Liberal program was formulated by an important manufacturing middle-class element of the party known as the Radicals, who were strongly influenced by Jeremy Bentham. The Liberals distinguishing policies included free trade, low budgets, and religious liberty. Their anti-imperialism reflected confidence in Britain's economic supremacy. Most Liberals believed in the economic doctrines of laissez-faire and thought labor unions, factory acts, and substantial poor relief a threat to rapid industrialization.

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

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