Conservatism for the democratic age

Conservative cultures and the challenge of mass politics in early twentieth century England

By David Thackeray

Conservatism for the democratic age


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-8761-5
  • Pages: 232
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £80.00
  • Published Date: May 2013
  • BIC Category: Politics, Political ideologies, Conservatism & right-of-centre democratic ideologies, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Ideologies / Conservatism & Liberalism, Society & social sciences / Conservatism & right-of-centre democratic ideologies


This book offers a new interpretation of the Conservative party's revival and adaptation to democratic politics in the early twentieth century. We cannot appreciate the Conservatives' unique success in British politics without exploring the dramatic cultural transformation which occurred within the party during the early decades of the century. This was a seminal period in which key features of the modern Conservative party emerged: a mass women's organisation, a focus on addressing the voter as a consumer, targeted electioneering strategies, and the use of modern media to speak to a mass audience. This book provides the first substantial attempt to assess the Conservatives' adaptation to democracy across the early twentieth century from a cultural perspective and will appeal to academics and students with an interest in the history of political communication, gender and class in modern Britain.


Scholars of the history of the Conservative Party cannot afford to ignore this book, which demonstrates just how much more we have to learn about the party's efforts to adapt to modern democracy.


David Thackeray is Lecturer in Modern History at the University of Exeter


Introduction: Politics in a democratic age
Edwardian politics
1. Responding to the Edwardian crisis of Unionism
2. The working man's pint and the housewife's budget
3. The challenge of class politics
4. Cultures of Unionism
The First World War
5. Rowdiness and respectability
6. Labour, civic associations and the new democracy
7. 'Country before party'
From the Armistice to Baldwin
8. The peaceable man and the prudent housewife
9. The multiple identities of anti-socialism
10. Baldwin's party?
Biographical Appendix

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