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For Party or Country
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Lord Hugh Cecil, commenting in 1912 on the British Conservative party's staying power, said that the party's success was largely a matter of temperament, "recruited from...the natural conservatism that is found in almost every human mind." The Conservatives regarded the parties of the left as
faddists or federations of pressure groups. In this thorough analysis, Coetzee examines the condition of the Conservative party during the two decades preceding World War I--a transitional period for the party, marked by the foundation of an unprecedented number of conservative pressure groups.
Cecil's comment, Coetzee argues, obscures the extent to which conservative pressure groups forced their party to adapt in Edwardian England. The British Navy League, the Tariff Reform League, the Anti-Socialist Union, and a host of other groups changed the face of British conservatism, though not
without considerable internal party conflict. In addition to providing a complete account of the pressure groups' origins, organizations, successes, and failures, Coetzee ties their histories to the debates within the Conservative party itself, and to the local elections. In so doing, he
demonstrates how the party of the right was ultimately able to convince the electorate that its views were more "national" and "patriotic" than those of the parties of the left.
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'His account is the convincing view of an insider well on top of his subject.' John Ramsden Queen Mary & Westfield College, London EHR Shorter Notices April '94 'Coetzee writes extremely well: the discussion is sharp, but balanced and thoughtful, and the argument is informed by a sceptical regard for the claims of all interested parties which makes the analysis all the more authoritative and convincing. The prose is lucid and the author has a keen eye for an effective turn of phrase ... This book is a valuable and important addition to our understanding of Edwardian Conservatism.' Martin Pugh, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, History Feb '92 'This book is a valuable and important addition to our understanding of Edwardian Conservatism' Martin Pugh, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, History February 1992

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