THE LIBERAL PARTY in Great Britain is a tiny remnant of the political power base it was in the 19th century. Then, it was one of the two major parties and dominated British politics for decades.

The Liberal Party in England developed from the the Whigs, who were a parliamentary faction in opposition to the religious policies of King Charles II. In the 18th century, they supported the Hanoverian succession. The Tories were their conservative opponents who supported the established system of church and aristocratic class, which controlled agriculture and rural areas. The Whigs were the party of reform in the 18th century and usually represented a medley of middleclass interests and the views of the industrial and commercial interests.

By the 1830s, political parties had developed ...

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