Liberal Reforms Essay

2183 Words9 Pages
Before the Liberal Reforms of 1905, poverty was an ever present endemic within the working-class of Britain. The general attitude towards those who suffered from poverty, as defined by ideas of Victorian Liberalism, gave the government little imperative to take any real action against poverty. However, after two major studies on the conditions of England had been conducted by Seebohm Rowntree and Charles Booth, the Liberal government introduced a series reforms aimed at improving the lives of the poor. Naturally there is a degree of importance to these two studies concerning how they led to government awareness of poverty; however a series of events around this era also served as possible catalysts for the introduction of social reforms, for example, the Boer War displayed the impact of poverty on war, which compromised the British concept of imperialism at the time. The main question is to what extent were the social reforms of the Liberal Government between 1905 and 1914 a response to more in depth knowledge about the extent and impact of poverty in British affairs. In this essay I shall research the importance of Rowntree and Booth relative to the Liberal Governments awareness of poverty in Britain. I will contextualise these studies and demonstrate how they combined with other factors in the era. Additionally I will assess the importance of certain events in terms of how they provoked changes in legislation, and critically judge the information researched. Using all of the information gathered I will formulate a logical conclusion. By the end of the nineteenth century social investigations conducted by middle-class individuals such as Charles Booth and social reformer Seebohm Rowntree unravelled unprecedented levels of poverty in different areas of England. Booth’s investigation of the social conditions of East London was presented as hard, statistical facts. He
Open Document