This wide-ranging book - one of the first major studies of British radicalism in the years between the collapse of Chartism in 1848 and the advent of Gladstonian liberalism in the 1860s - explains how and why radicalism lost its hold over British politics.The book begins by re-examining the rise of radicalism in the 1830s and 1840s, arguing that it was the 1832 Reform Act which invigorated radicalism, by enlarging the powers of parliament and
increasing the need for independent MPs. As independents, between the mid-1830s and the mid-1850s, radicals, alongside other liberals and reformers, were invested with unprecedented influence in parliament, in the constituencies, and in the media. During the 1850s events at home and in Europe
undermined the radical ascendancy, and paved the way for the moderate liberalism of the Gladstone years.This is an original and comprehensive revision of mid-nineteenth century radicalism and its influence on the origins of Gladstonian liberalism, filling an important gap in our knowledge of Victorian political history.
`Professor Epstein may lay claim to be both an authentic disciple of the Thompsons and one of the most skilful and lucid of Stedman Jones's critics ... a book entirely coherent in its concerns, but possessing the compact force associated with the essay form ... a miscellaneous, though extremely erudite, compendium of data studded with striking apercus in detail.'
Times Literary Supplement
`The present volume is clearly the outcome of an industriously pursued thesis.'
Times Higher Educational Supplement
`The work is a substantial contribution to the understanding of this period,'
`The bibliography, some forty ages in length, attests to the meticulous and comprehensive scholarship which informs Miles Taylor's impressive study of The Decline of English Radicalism. The book is not an account of the decline of radicalism but an original and convincing analysis of the formation of the parliamentary Liberal party.'
John nelchem, University of Liverpool, EHR Jun.97
`Taylor's focus is on constitutionalism and parliamentary activity, and includes a careful study of constituency organisation and membership ... a major contribution to our understanding of the mid-Victorian period.'
Gregory Claeys, University of London, Victorian Studies, Summer 1996
`Miles Taylor has uncovered the world of these parliamentary radicals with scrupulous scholarship and deft insight, and has traced the progress of their ideal in the climatic years of the late 1840s and 1850s ... He offers an excellent discussion of their major objectives ... this is a highly intelligent and rich account, not just of Radicalism, but also of parliamentary politics, in the 1850s, and the reader will profit from its analyses of most of the big
set-pieces of the decade, especially the foreign policy debates.'
J.P. Parry, Pembroke College, Cambridge, Parliamentary Hisotry 16/3