New Liberalism

A new type of Liberalism had emerged by 1900. It championed the idea that the government should intervene to help the poor. This provided the inspiration for social reform.

Many politicians, especially in the Liberal Party, abandoned the idea of ‘laissez-faire’:

  • they wanted to use governmental power and money to help the poor
  • they argued that there were circumstances in which it was right for the state to intervene in people's lives
  • they felt that the social problems the poor faced were outwith their control

Campbell-Bannerman (an 'Old Liberal') was replaced in 1908, by Herbert Asquith, who was much more supportive of New Liberalism.

'New Liberals' such as David Lloyd George and Winston Churchill rose to prominence in Asquith’s government.

The video below examines government health reforms and public health from 1875 to 1906.