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The Liberal Democrat History Group promotes the discussion and research of topics relating to the histories of the British Liberal Democrats and its predecessor parties, the Liberal Party and the SDP, and of liberalism more broadly.

New from the History Group: Dictionary of Liberal Quotations

Writers, thinkers, journalists, philosophers and politicians contribute nearly 2,000 quotations, musings, provocations, jibes and diatribes. A completely revised and updated edition of the History Group's second book (published originally in 1999), this is the essential guide to who said what about Liberals and Liberalism. Available at a special discounted rate for Journal of Liberal History subscribers.

Also available from the History Group: Peace, Reform and Liberation: A History of Liberal Politics in Britain, 1679-2011

Written by academics and experts, drawing on the most recent scholarly research, Peace, Reform and Liberation is the most comprehensive and most up-to-date guide to the story of those who called themselves Liberals, what inspired them and what they achieved over the last 300 years and more.

An essential source for anyone interested in the contribution of Liberals and Liberalism to British politics. Available at a special discounted rate for Journal of Liberal History subscribers.


The Liberal Democrat History Group aims to appeal to anyone with an interest in the history of British Liberalism, whether academics, party activists or spare-time students of political history. We:

- Publish the quarterly Journal of Liberal History, containing articles, book reviews, biographies, and meeting reports

- Publish books, including Peace, Reform and Liberation: A History of Liberal Politics in Britain 1679-2011, Dictionary of Liberal Thought, and Great Liberal Speeches

- Publish shorter booklets as concise reference sources, including Liberal History (a concise history of the Liberal Democrats and its predecessor parties), Liberal Leaders 1828-1899, Liberal Leaders of the Twentieth Century and Mothers of Liberty: Women who built British Liberalism

- Organise discussion meetings, both in London and as fringe meetings at Liberal Democrat conferences

- Make resources available to students of Liberal history, including news of research in progress and guides to archive sources (see the items listed under 'Research resources' on the left-hand menu)

- Provide a concise history of the Liberal Democrats and its predecessor parties, along with a more extensive set of historical articles and biographies - the Liberal History Online project, available through the top menu bar.

How the site is organised

Use the left-hand menu to navigate to the various activities of the Group, and the menu bar at the top for Liberal History Online - pages on the history of the party sorted according to period, theme or person, together with relevant articles from the Journal of Liberal History.

Also use the top menu bar to send up queries about Liberal history, to subscribe to the Journal of Liberal History, and to join our email mailing list for news of our meetings and publications.

Copyright policy

The content on this site is made available on the terms and conditions set out here. Users accessing the site are deemed to have accepted these terms and conditions.
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Saturday 1 November 2014
The Liberal Party and the First World War
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Journal of Liberal History 84
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20th October 1784:
Birth of Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston, Tory then Whig MP for Newport 1807-11, Cambridge University 1811-31, Bletchingly 1831-32, Hampsire South 1832-35 and Tiverton 1835-65. Prime Minister 1855-58 and 1859-65. One of the great political figures of the nineteenth century, Palmerston was first elected as a Tory and served in the governments of Spencer Perceval and Lord Liverpool as Secretary at War. His support for Catholic emancipation and parliamentary reform led him in 1830 to join Earl Grey's Whig government as Foreign Secretary. He laid down the tenets of British foreign policy which lasted into the twentieth century. Palmerston was an immensely popular politician and a major electoral asset to the newly created Liberal Party in the 1850s and 60s. His rather carefree approach to politics belied a serious purpose. He was a passionate opponent of slavery and during his two periods as prime minister he ended the Crimean War, reformed the divorce laws and regulated company law. On his death Palmerston was given a state funeral - one of only four prime ministers to be granted such an honour.

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