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The Liberal Party in Rural England 1885-1910Radicalism and Community$
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Patricia Lynch

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780199256211

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199256211.001.0001

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Constituency Organization

Constituency Organization

(p.51) 2 Constituency Organization
The Liberal Party in Rural England 1885-1910


Oxford University Press

This chapter demonstrates that the Conservatives were initially much more successful than the Liberals in organizing their rural supporters. It examines three possible explanations for the Liberals' organizational weakness in rural areas. It argues that although political intimidation and structural factors unique to rural life each played an important part in discouraging the development of rural Liberal organizations, the most important reason for the party's difficulties was a tendency, among rural voters of all classes, to idealize the harmoniousness of the village community and to look with suspicion on political organizations as disruptive of local unity.

Keywords:   Conservatives, Liberal organizations, political intimidation, structural factors

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