What Were the Motives Behind Gladstone’s Reforms?

Topics: School, Christianity, Catholic Church Pages: 3 (1059 words) Published: October 28, 2013
Gladstone became Prime Minister for the first time in December 1868, when the Liberal Party ousted a minority Conservative government under Benjamin Disraeli. Gladstone’s reforms were inspired and supported by his own views. The main principles of Gladstonian Liberalism were clearly present in the reforms passed. Support for free trade, administrative efficiency in government, retrenchment and individual self-expression are all apparent in many of the reforms. Many contemporaries saw the ministry as one that was engaged in an attack on privilege to create a meritocracy. However, many of the reforms were also aimed at satisfying the political demands of the public, who were persistent that England welcome more Liberal ways of thinking. Gladstone was determined to banish the limitations that had bestowed the nation. Only allowing certain jobs to be inherited by people that from a certain background. Gladstone’s way of thinking was far beyond his time, as he felt that everyone deserved an even playing field. Immediately Gladstone realised that by massively improving the education and allowing consistent access to the whole nation, this would be a massive strive to his desire. And in December 1868, it passed the Public Schools Act, which revised the governing bodies of the ‘Clarendon’ schools such as Eton, Harrow and Winchester. This was followed, in 1869, by the Endowed Schools Act, which aimed to improve secondary education by appointing three commissioners to revise the trust deeds of schools such as Manchester Grammar School. Any further proposals for reorganisation had to be submitted to the Education Department. Demands for reform came from those, such as industrialists, who feared that Britain’s competitive edge in world trade and industry was being damaged by the lack of an effective education system. They pointed to both the USA and Prussia, Britain’s two major economic rivals, as states that, by 1870, had introduced free, compulsory, state-funded...
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