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Midlothian campaign


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W. E. Gladstone (1809—1898) prime minister and author

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(1879–80)

A series of speeches by William Gladstone to mass audiences in Britain, marking a new phase in party electioneering. Queen Victoria and Disraeli, the Conservative Prime Minister, regarded these new tactics as unconstitutional, but it helped the Liberals to win a large majority in the general election of 1880. The campaigns recognized the importance of the new mass electorate created by the 1867 Reform Act, and of the growing influence of newspaper reports of political speeches. Before setting out by train from London to the Edinburgh constituency of Midlothian, Gladstone addressed the crowds, repeating this at stations where the train stopped. The climax came in speeches at Edinburgh and other Scottish cities in which he strongly criticized the government. He gained the Midlothian seat from the Conservative, Lord Dalkeith.

Subjects: British History — World History.


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