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The Lancashire Working Classes c.1880-1930$
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Trevor Griffiths

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780199247387

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199247387.001.0001

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Converting the Faithful: Electoral Politics in Coal and Cotton Lancashire

Converting the Faithful: Electoral Politics in Coal and Cotton Lancashire

(p.267) 8 Converting the Faithful: Electoral Politics in Coal and Cotton Lancashire
The Lancashire Working Classes c.1880-1930

Trevor Griffiths (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The social changes that occurred in Britain in the half-century from 1880 appeared to be registered most graphically through elections. A political system formerly structured around the vertical ties of religion and locality came to be replaced by one in which party allegiance was primarily determined by class. This shift is usually discussed in terms of the eclipse of a broadly progressive, pan-class Liberalism by a Labour Party committed to articulating the interests of the organised working class. This chapter explores electoral politics in the coal and cotton industries in Lancashire, testing the more influential arguments against the evidence garnered from Bolton and Wigan. Labour’s growth up to the outbreak of war in 1914 is considered, along with the impact of war and its aftermath, culminating in the restoration of conventional party politics in 1922. The extent to which Labour’s advance in the 1920s can be attributed to the adoption of neighbourhood-based welfarist politics is also examined.

Keywords:   electoral politics, Lancashire, coal industry, cotton industry, Labour Party, working class, Liberalism, elections, religion

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