By Terry Jenkins
Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield, continues to be probably the most interesting and enigmatic figures in British political heritage. He was once the romantic radical, who went directly to lead the Conservative social gathering; the city, center type Jew, who pointed out himself with a ruling elite in response to the aristocracy, land and Anglicanism. This research of Disraeli seeks to supply a balanced insurance of the entire of his profession, giving equivalent weight to the lengthy interval spent as chief of the competition, in addition to reading his upward push to the Conservative management and his next checklist as best Minister. An evaluate is accessible of Disraeli's contribution to the late-Victorian Conservative party's political ascendancy, and particularly to its photo because the 'national' social gathering.
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Extra resources for Disraeli and Victorian Conservatism
In the aftermath of the Corn Law crisis, Disraeli had been able to gradually build upon the position which he had made for himself through his attacks on Peel. For instance, he found that he now enjoyed a certain degree of social respectability, and the doors of some of the greatest stately homes, like Belvoir Castle and Burghley House, were opened to him. He was able to further consolidate his status through the acquisition of a modest country house and estate, Hughenden Manor in Buckinghamshire: the patrimony received on the death of his father provided some of the financial wherewithal, but Disraeli could never have purchased the property 33 Disraeli and Victorian Conservatism without a loan of £25,000 from members of the Bentinck family.
41 In the years 1855-6 the fortunes of the Conservative party reached what was, even by its own mid-Victorian standards, surely the nadir. Palmerston's ministry proved to be far more resilient than anyone could have anticipated, even surviving the resignation of Gladstone and other leading Peelites, and by April 1856 it was able to end the war with Russia, convincing the British public that they had been victorious. The general Conservative distrust of Disraeli, meanwhile, was undiminished, especially after a misguided attempt late in 1855 to evolve a peace policy in conjunction with the Manchester Radicals.
It was due to these unique circumstances that Disraeli was able to push himself forward into a prominent position, as there was a chronic shortage of debating talent within the protectionist ranks. Disraeli certainly made himself indispensable to his party, but it is important to remember that, at this stage, he would have been considered quite unacceptable as a leader of the Conservative country gentlemen. This role was filled by a hitherto obscure MP, Lord George Bentinck, whose high social status (he was the son of a Duke) and obvious honesty of purpose meant that he could command the respect and loyalty of the country gentlemen, in spite of his limitations as a debater.