Perhaps because the changes that took place were neither as dramatic nor as well-catalogued as the events of the early nineteenth century or the years between the two world wars, it is too easy to forget that the late nineteenth century was also a period of dramatic economic and social change. In the last quarter of the nineteenth century, for the first time, a British industrial economy which depended overwhelmingly on exports was faced with major competition in international markets. At the same time the huge population growth that had been accelerating throughout the century continued apace, and with it that major change in living style — the development of an overwhelmingly urban population with its changed cultural relationships — was transfiguring the British social landscape. These changes were to encourage a pragmatic political response, an adaptation to the new facts of life as they faced British society entering the twentieth century. In particular, they demanded a change in understanding of the role of the state in an increasingly complicated world, a world in which the political simplicities of an age of virtually unimpeded economic and social progress could no longer apply.
Swipe to navigate through the chapters of this book
Please log in to get access to this content
To get access to this content you need the following product:
- The crisis of liberalism
- Macmillan Education UK
- Sequence number
- Chapter number