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Conservatism for the democratic ageConservative cultures and the challenge of mass politics in early twentieth century England$
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Dr. David Thackeray

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780719087615

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719087615.001.0001

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Baldwin’s party?

Baldwin’s party?

(p.171) 10 Baldwin’s party?
Conservatism for the democratic age

David Thackeray

Manchester University Press

Stanley Baldwin’s leadership is generally portrayed as being integral to the Conservative party’s success between the wars, unifying the disparate factions within the party, and creating a Conservative middle ground. Baldwin promoted an anti-socialist politics which identified the party with constitutionalism, moderate social reform and the national interest. The discourse of ‘Baldwinite Conservatism’ offered a brand of constructive anti-socialism which had a significantly wider appeal than the Edwardian tariff reform campaign or the press-led anti-waste agitation of the early 1920s. Nonetheless, the symbiotic relationship between the party’s national leadership and grassroots organisations has arguably been underestimated. Baldwin’s rhetoric was effectively mediated and disseminated through conversations with groups like the Women’s Unionist Organisation.

Keywords:   Stanley Baldwin, Tariff reform, Liberal party, Anti-socialism, Social reform, Regional politics, Non-party organisations

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