Publications on Benjamin Disraeli tend to focus on popular topics like his clashes with William Gladstone, career as an author, or supposed opportunistic character. Biographers like Robert Blake have produced retellings of Disraeli’s life encompassing several volumes, and there are a multitude of writings on the lasting legacy he left on the Conservative Party and the United Kingdom as a whole. These publications also include Monypenny and Buckle’s seminal Life of Disraeli Vol.III 1846-1855 upon which a large portion of modern Disraeli scholarship is based. Some volumes like Young Disraeli: 1804-1846 by Jane Ridley focus on Disraeli’s life before he became Prime Minister. The discussion within these publications often attribute Disraeli’s political actions as being opportunistic rather than a living, developing ideology that grew with him through his career. Essentially he is often characterized as a man who had no particular ideology and just adapted pieces of existing political thought to capitalize on popular consensus. However, by examining the 1867 Reform Act, this paper seeks to disprove the notion that Disraeli was simply a political opportunist instead of a political mastermind who engineered a new winning identity for the Conservative Party. This paper aims to utilize Disraeli’s own speeches, letters, and musings to delve into the ideas that formed his political ideology, One Nation Conservatism. It will use the words and thoughts of its founding father to define what One Nationism is and what served as its genesis. Newspapers and contemporary accounts will also reveal the United Kingdom’s reactions to Disraeli’s policies and how it became so entwined with Tory dogma. Disraeli’s motives and pre-established line of thinking can be used to demonstrate he had already formulated the basis of One-Nation Conservatism and was acting accordingly.
Dr. Sarah Wiggins, Thesis Advisor
Dr. Bingyu Zheng, Committee Member
Dr. Leonid Heretz, Committee Member
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Original document was submitted as an Honors Program requirement. Copyright is held by the author.
Beauregard, Eric. (2022). A Leap in the Dark: How Benjamin Disraeli’s 1867 Reform Bill Remade the Tory Party. In BSU Honors Program Theses and Projects. Item 501. Available at: https://vc.bridgew.edu/honors_proj/501
Copyright © 2022 Eric Beauregard