“The Two Nations”
• Sybil, or The Two Nations, 1845
• England was “two nations between whom there
is no intercourse and no sympathy; who are as
ignorant of each other's habits, thoughts, and
feelings, as if they were dwellers in different
zones, or inhabitants of different planets: the rich
and the poor”.
• Influenced by 1789 and by other uprisings.
• Conclusion: England ought to be one nation.
• Prevents discontent, unrest, and revolution.
“Reform to Preserve”
• Option 1: Social Change
• Remove some of the grosser injustices of
• Masses happier and grateful to the
• Avoids revolution.
• Difficult to persuade his party of the merits,
but eventually managed.
Examples of Social Reform
• Largely thanks to Cross, social reform
• Artisans Dwellings Act, 1875
• Public Health Act, 1875
• Sale of Food and Drugs Act, 1876
• Education Act, 1876
• Climbing Boys Act, 1876
Interesting Fact
• Disraeli’s method of approach to social
change varied.
• Sometimes painted it as ‘one-upmanship’
against Gladstone
• Sometimes as ‘reform to preserve’
• Sometimes as a heartfelt commitment
• Mainly depended on who he was
Problems and Reaction
• Lack of inspiration from Disraeli – not his
• Mainly developed or altered Liberal ideas
• Key difference – much legislation
• Well received – “the Conservative party
have done more for the working classes in
five years than the Liberals have in fifty” –
Alexander MacDonald
Foreign and Imperial Policy
• Option 2: Bring country together through
imperial affairs
• Disraeli’s main interest
• Celebrate glory of Empire
– Royal Titles Act
– Suez Canal Crisis
– 11 Victoria Crosses at Rourke’s Drift
• Enhance British standing abroad
– Eastern Crisis and Congress of Berlin
Problems and Reaction
• The stakes were higher – potential for disaster
greater (Afghanistan, Isandhlwana)
• Necessarily had to rely on regional
administrators, such as Sir Bartle Frere / Lord
• But potential for glory also greater
• Eastern Crisis (“Peace With Honour”) and Suez
Canal Shares immensely popular
• Public preferred his approach to Gladstone’s
Social Reform
“One Nation
Imperial / Foreign Glory
Social Reform
“One Nation
Imperial / Foreign Glory
Permissive Legislation – so
as to avoid accusations
(levelled at the Liberals) that
they interfered too much
Reform to Conserve –
Conservatives can hold on to
most of their privileges if they
surrender a few of them
Social Reform
Noblesse Oblige – Disraeli
argued that nobility had a
duty to help
This will create a “Tory
Democracy” where the
Conservatives are the first
choice of the working class
Social Reform
“One Nation
Imperial / Foreign Glory
Echoes of Palmerston in
an age when Britain is not
unquestionably top nation
Enhanced role for Britain
hides more unpleasant
factors of everyday life
Imperial / Foreign Glory
Public vote Tory as they
associate it with
international honour
Good way to show real
difference between
Liberals and Tories
After Disraeli
• Dies in 1881
• “Tory Democracy” not used as a phrase until
1884 by Randolph Churchill
• Also known as ‘villa Conservatism’ (Toryism for
people who live in villas)
• Much more significant after Disraeli dies as
working classes can vote
• Now the issue is “reform so as not to lose office”
rather than “reform so as not to be killed”
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