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The Dissenters Volume IIIThe Crisis and Conscience of Nonconformity$
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Michael R. Watts

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198229698

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198229698.001.0001

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‘A torrent of gin and beer’

‘A torrent of gin and beer’

The Nonconformist Revolt and Liberal Defeat

(p.249) 3 ‘A torrent of gin and beer’
The Dissenters Volume III

Michael R. Watts

Oxford University Press

This chapter describes how the Education Act provoked a Nonconformist revolt in which Dissenters tried to use the new political influence bestowed on them by the 1867 Reform Act to force the Liberal party to accede to their wishes. Radical Nonconformists contributed to a series of Liberal by-election losses between 1871 and 1873, and to the ultimate Tory victory in the general election of 1874, by driving moderate Anglicans, who had hitherto supported the Liberals, into the arms of the Conservatives. Nonconformists also helped to drive voters away from the Liberal party by supporting the United Kingdom Alliance's campaign to curb the sale of alcohol.

Keywords:   Forster Education Act, education policy, Nonconformists, Liberal party, political influence, 1867 Reform Act, Conservatives, United Kingdom Alliance

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