Twentieth Century British political history
Time: 15:00 - 17:00
looks at how British politics was transformed during the twentieth century – not once, but
several times – and shows how we can understand politicians, parties, and government as
responding to changes in our society and economy. A fascinating blend of continuity and
change, this course shows how we got to where we are today.
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
Course Code: HBH57
Duration: 8 sessions (over 8 weeks)
What is the course about?
Continuity and change in 20th Century British political history.
This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
What will we cover?
• What was New Liberalism? How did it differ from what had gone before?
• What were the debates about female suffrage? Did every woman want the vote?
• How did Labour come to replace the Liberals as one of our major political parties?
• Why did the country elect Clement Attlee instead of Winston Churchill in 1945?
• What was the post war consensus? How did it come about?
• What happened to Britain in the 1970s? Was the country really ungovernable?
• How did the Conservatives dominate after 1979? And were they really Conservative?
• Why did New Labour win a landslide in the last election of the twentieth century?
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
• Define New Liberalism and show how it differs from classical liberal thought
• Explore the contemporary debates about enfranchisement
• Discuss the reasons why the Liberals gave way to Labour as a party of government
• Understand why the country wanted to ‘win the peace’ after World War II
• Identify the post war consensus and the policies of the two main parties
• Outline the challenges of the 1970s and the demand for change
• Decide why Conservatives won four elections and whether they changed Britain
• Explain how Tony Blair became Prime Minister with a huge majority in 1997.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This is an introductory course and no prior knowledge is required.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
Each class is broken down into bite sized explorations of key topics, introduced by the tutor
and followed by class discussion; in addition, the tutor introduces the session and sums up
at the end to make sure you fully understand the important points. You will be provided with select readings, but this is designed to enhance your study after the class; you can follow, enjoy, and contribute to the discussion without doing so.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
No other costs. Please bring a pen and notebook to class if you wish to make notes.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Other courses in British history. Please see the City Lit website.
Justin is Lecturer in Politics at Brasenose College, Oxford. He also teaches at the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford and the Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Cambridge. He is an Associate Lecturer at the Open University. He holds postgraduate degrees from Oxford, Cambridge, and London.
Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.