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Why did the Tory party’s electoral fortune revive between 1874 and 1900?

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From 1846, the conservative party has been in minority in the commons, but at the end of the 19th century there was a conservative revival. Indeed, after 1880, the Tory party became dominant in the Victorian political life. The main actors of this revival were Disraeli, who was Prime Minister from 1874 to 1880, and then Salisbury who formed three conservative governments, between 1886 and 1902. It is necessary to point out that this electoral revival of the conservatives can seem paradoxical. Indeed, due to the Reform Acts of 1867 and 1884, the number of working-class voters was higher than ever during this period and their vote should have ?normally? been given to the Liberals, considering the fact that the conservative party was so far the party of the landed and propertied elite. As a result, many historians argue that the conservative paradoxical revival was not linked to assets of the Tory party but to shortcomings of the Liberals.

They think that the electoral hegemony of the conservatives between 1874 and was essentially a negative achievement due to Liberal disarray and division and to the reliance on the new distribution of seats since 1885. However, revisionist historiography shows that this revival is in fact highly correlated wit the enfranchisement of the working class and with a positive evolution of the tory party. According to Jon Lawrence, working class conservatism has too often been considered as a form of political deviance but this is a reductionist model and we need to recognize that the hegemony of a group or a party can also been the result of a specific conjuncture.

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