Joseph Chamberlain

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Joseph Chamberlain was a dynamic orator, notable reformer and superb parliamentary tactician of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In his early political career Chamberlain was a radically minded Liberal Party member and a supporter of political reform, yet after the Liberal Split, his allegiance changed dramatically when his Liberal Unionist Party entered into alliance with the Conservatives. As Colonial Secretary in Salisbury’s government, he was a prime instigator of the Boer War and an important negotiator in the attempts to build an Anglo-German alliance. Ultimately disenchanted with the Conservative leadership of Salisbury and Balfour, he played an integral role in the Unionist Split over the issue of Tariff Reform which ultimately led to Balfour’s downfall. Travis Crosby here sheds light on an often-overlooked, but exceptionally influential politician. He argues that Chamberlain was driven primarily by a personal need for power and control – characteristics that went beyond political loyalties. Nevertheless, his accomplishments as chief spokesman for electoral and social reform, and his achievements as Colonial Secretary, were genuine and lasting. This book sheds new light on an influential character who played an important role in the development of British politics.