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Entrepreneurial Politics in Mid-Victorian Britain$
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G. R. Searle

Print publication date: 1993

Print ISBN-13: 9780198203575

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198203575.001.0001

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The Crimean War and Administrative Reform

The Crimean War and Administrative Reform

(p.89) 3 The Crimean War and Administrative Reform
Entrepreneurial Politics in Mid-Victorian Britain

G. R. Searle

Oxford University Press

On January 26, 1854, Britain's House of Commons passed John A. Roebuck's motion of censure, which destroyed the Aberdeen coalition and led to the creation of the Sebastopol Committee. The movement for administrative reform then switched to the country, where Austen Henry Layard, a back-bench liberal MP, made a succession of well-publicized speeches. On May 5, a pressure group came into existence, the Administrative Reform Association (ARA). By far the most important aspect of the movement for administrative reform was the claim that the army and the government both needed to be organized on good, sound ‘business principles’. This chapter examines the impact of the Crimean War on administrative reform initiatives in Britain and looks at ARA's predecessors and similarities to the Anti-Corn Law League. It also discusses administrative reform at the Manchester School, the supporters of administrative reform, critics of ‘business principles’, the role of leadership in the failure of ARA, ARA's lack of political strategy, and the release of the Northcote-Trevelyan report in February 1854.

Keywords:   Britain, Crimean War, Sebastopol Committee, Administrative Reform Association, John A. Roebuck, Austen Henry Layard, business principles, Anti-Corn Law League, Northcote-Trevelyan report

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