Disraeli and Victorian Conservatism by Terry Jenkins

By Terry Jenkins

Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield, is still probably the most interesting and enigmatic figures in British political background. He was once the romantic radical, who went directly to lead the Conservative occasion; the city, heart classification Jew, who pointed out himself with a ruling elite in keeping with the aristocracy, land and Anglicanism. This learn of Disraeli seeks to supply a balanced assurance of the full of his profession, giving equivalent weight to the lengthy interval spent as chief of the competition, in addition to reading his upward thrust to the Conservative management and his next checklist as major Minister. An overview is out there of Disraeli's contribution to the late-Victorian Conservative party's political ascendancy, and particularly to its photograph because the 'national' social gathering.

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M, the debate, instead of being concluded, was continued by Gladstone, who was resolved to make a reply. According to Whitty, Gladstone's face was 'full of fire, vigour and pluck', and he 'terrified people into silence': It was the dignified lofty rebuke from an honest, gifted nature of the impudent (there is no other word) outrage of Disraeli; and, as if by magic, that intense scorn which his voice and eye, rather than his language conveyed, altered the whole tone of the House, brought down a ringing, enduring cheer, and changed the fate of the day.

13 Feelings were so strong on the Conservative backbenches, and among the agriculturalists in the constituencies, that reunion with the 'treacherous' Peelites was not likely to be easily achieved. In fact, the agricultural depression of the late 1840s, caused by bad harvests and plentiful supplies of cheap imported cereals, only served to make the landed interest more intransigent in its demand for a return to protectionist policies. 14 Thus, when Russell's fragile Ministry collapsed through internal weakness in February 1851, Lord Stanley's bid to construct a comprehensive Conservative alternative came to grief because the Pee lites, Lord Aberdeen, Lord Canning, and Gladstone (Peel was now dead), declined his offers of Cabinet posts on the grounds that he was still committed to introducing a small fixed duty on corn.

It is easy to say that he was just an opportunist, but we should not neglect the power of Disraeli's imagination, his ability to project himself into the mind-set of those whose cause he happened to be espousing. And it is important to remember that, in all his political manifestations, Disraeli was not merely an adherent but a publiciser, invariably succeeding in justifying his views by reference to a bold interpretation of English history. The value of imagination in politics is a recurring theme in Disraeli's thought.

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