Wednesday, 13 June 2012

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Sunday, 10 June 2012

Pointillism and Divisionism - Definition


Georges LemmenThe Beach at Heist, c. 1891/2, 
Musée d'Orsay Paris
Pointillism,  also known as Divisionism, is a technique of painting in which small distinct dots of varying colours are applied to a medium, and the pattern from these dots forms an image. As the tin dots become blended in the viewer's eye. The technique was developed in 1886 by Georges Seurat and Paul Signac. The technique is a branch of Impressionism and many of the proponents were involved in the Impressionist movement. Other terms which are used in reference to this technique are Divisionism and Neo-Impressionism. The term Pointillism was initially derogatory and used by art critics in 1880s to ridicule works of art which employed this technique.
The Papal Palace, Avignon, oil on canvas, 1900, Musée d'Orsay, Paris

Doric Order Definition


The Doric Order,
The Temple of Poseidon
At Paestum 460 450 B.C
The Doric order is the oldest and most simplistic of the ancient orders. The Doric order was both robust and imposing; and was therefore deemed to be suitable for use in temple architecture. The columns of the Doric order and are often without bases. The shafts of the Doric order's columns are articulated with concave curves called flutes.

The capitals of the Doric order have a rounded section at the bottom which is called the echinus and the capital is surmounted by a square at the top which is called the abacus. The capitals of the doric order are plain and are often unadorned.

The composition of the Doric order's entablature is: a frieze with alternating vertical channels, known as Triglyphs. The architrave rests upon the capital of the column. The frieze and architrave are separated by a thin band called the regula. The frieze, architrave and regula form a large and distinctive part of a temple's form. The Doric order has been put to use in many notable buildings of ancient antiquity such as the Parthenon.
On the left is part of a Doric entablature and column. On the right is a plan of the Parthenon
With two rows of columns on the entrances.

To what extent were the lives of the working classes improved by Gladstone and Disraeli respectively in their ministries between 1868-1880?


Both yes and no. Some significant pieces of legislative reform and institutional reform introduced by Gladstone in his Great Ministry.

Forster’s Education Act established the principle of universal elementary education. The state was taking on board the responsibility and the costs of educating all children up to a certain age.

This had a link with meritocracy because Gladstone wanted the working classes to be aspiring: education would encourage workers to be more reflective and focus on moral and ethical progress. This was not necessarily appreciated by the working man and woman. Gladstone’s high-minded ideals was very far removed from the daily experiences of the ordinary family who were trying to scrape together a living. Ensuring that children had to receive schooling meant that there was less money coming into the family household. Disraeli’s Education Act 1876, clarified Forster’s Act and made employment of children under 10 illegal. Arguably, Neither Gladstone or Disraeli had any significant understanding of the plight of working class lives especially in a pre-welfare age.

Gladstone was the first PM to recognise the rights of Trade Unions to exist. His legislation of 1874 gave the unions legal protection and the freedom to exist and collect subs. On first reading, then, it would seem that Gladstone truly understood the concerns of working men and collective security against unscrupulous employers. However, the Act did not allow Unions to go on strike which irritated the Radicals. It was a half-hearted measure that alarmed the Whig-conservative elements and frustrated the hopes of working men. Many saw it as a pointless decision, and it took Disraeli in 1875 to allow Union the right to strike.

Disraeli’s legislation differed from Gladstone’s in that he was much more practical in his social reforms. Gladstone’s reforms required cooperation from the working classes; it places demands on them to respond. Disraeli’s approach was to provide non-controversial legislation that was benefit to all in society.

How important was Gladstone’s contribution to the development of Liberalism from 1852-1868?


·     Free Trade and his Budgets
·     Gladstone’s Ideology helps to define Liberalism and unify Liberal Party
·     Gladstone and Parliamentary Reform

Some historians would argue that Gladstone made a significant contribution to Liberalism especially with his focus on free trade and low government spending. Gladstone had inherited this belief from his mentor, Robert Peel. It was over free trade and the Repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846 that forced Gladstone and the Peelite rump out of the Conservative Party.

As Chancellor of the Exchequer in the early 1850s Gladstone passed a number of budgets which reduced the costs of every day goods such as tea, coffee and sugar. In comparison with Disraeli’s attempts to introduce a malt tax, which would have benefited the farmers and taxed the urban classes, Gladstone claimed he was making Britain a cheap place to live for everyone. Gladstone inherited Peel’s legacy, and he genuinely believed that free trade was the panacea (cure for all ills) for the British economy. This would stimulate investment and in turn create more jobs and wealth.

There is no doubt that Gladstone’s budgets helped to create the economic climate in which there was a boom: the 1850s was a period of massive growth and wealth creation, the high point (apogee) of Britain’s industrialisation. In the mind of the working classes and many of the middle classes cheap food and boom was the result of Gladstone’s prudent managing of the economy. This in turn boosts liberalism in popular culture and the Liberal Party becomes associated with wealth creation. This is of huge political significance for Gladstone and for the Liberal Party. 

Symbols were of great importance to Gladstone and it could be argued that he knew how to gain political support from his actions. Gladstone promoted himself as a man of the people; he was referred to in the popular press as the ‘People’s William’, as someone who was promoting the cause of the working classes, rather like a crusader. The irony in this was Gladstone was very much against democracy- his ‘Pale of the Constitution’ speech in 1864 suggested that everyone was potentially entitled to the vote but this was a manifesto that was beyond the hopes of most working people. The rhetoric and propaganda was arguably more persuasive than the reality. Gladstone’s image was replicated on all sorts of paraphernalia such as chamber pots and mugs, seen with chopper in hand. Gladstone was seen as a man of the people, and this no doubt had a beneficial effect on the Liberal Party.

There was some substance to the argument that Gladstone contributed to the popular appeal of Liberalism: his abolition of the paper duties especially overcoming opposition from the House of Lords, as well as his high moral tone suggested that Gladstone was the man of the moment. No doubt he was helped by the beneficial economic circumstances. But not all is so clear. Not least the extent to which Gladstone himself was a genuine liberal. Some would say he is best described as a liberal-conservative, and that his liberal views extended only so far as free trade and the economy.

There is an argument that Gladstone needed the Liberal Party more than the Liberal Party needed him. No doubt the power of his personality provided an element of unity amongst the Whigs, Peelites and Radicals who made up an uneasy coalition. Gladstone became a symbol of the party, with his focus on retrenchment and free trade. In his day, Palmerston was equally popular for his successful and active foreign policies.

·     Gladstone almost returned to the Conservative Party in 1858. He was invited back by Derby. But, he made a political judgment that he was more likely to become leader of the Liberal Party! Makes Gladstone seem less of a hero and more of an opportunistic politician.
·     Disraeli had first mentioned the possibility of Parliamentary Reform in the late 1850s. Gladstone rubbished this idea, but then went on to introduce his own bill in 1865. Shows no real commitment. Changing views according to the political situation.

How far was Disraeli’s contribution the main factor in the development of the Conservative Party to 1868?


One of the most dramatic contributions Disraeli made towards the development of the Conservative Party during his tenure; can be argued to be transforming the party’s emphasis from protectionism to free trade. This decision marked a significant change from when Robert Peel was party leader and Disraeli sought mobilise the protectionist interest within the party in defiance of peel. Another major development in the Conservative Party under Disraeli was an increasing focus on Social Reform; it was Disraeli’s intention to improve the living conditions of the poor.

Disraeli’s main contribution during this period was to provide strong authoritative leadership for the Conservative Party. Strong leadership was required, as the party had a few years earlier suffered a major schism over the Corn Laws. As chancellor if the Exchequer Disraeli’s contributions towards the Conservative Party, were ever present. For instance, Disraeli’s first budget of 1852 was designed to appeal as widely as possible to enfranchised citizens, in an attempt to attract maximum support for his party and thus improve the party’s chances of survival in government. Examples of Disraeli’s grand plan in the 1852 budget are: proposed reductions in the Malt Tax in order to help farmers, further reductions on Hop Duty in an attempt to win over the beer and ale drinking classes, in addition to decreasing Tea Duty to help the whole nation. All of these measures were viewed as highly popular initiatives. However Disraeli had to levy a higher house tax in order to compensate for these reductions, but this was at a time when the majority of the populace did not own the property that they lived in, so this did not substantially effect the Conservative’s popularity.

Disraeli’s first taste of a major public office was when he became Chancellor of the Exchequer, such a role was important in preparing him for his later role as Prime Minister. Disraeli subsequently remained indispensable to the Conservatives and had persuaded Lord Derby to abandon protection, which had been along with Crown, Church and Constitution, a fundamental part of Conservative policy. On the other hand, Disraeli was accused of hypocrisy on this issue and was not, as a man who had been constantly plagued by debt, viewed as a suitable Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Disraeli was a keen parliamentarian and his influence in the House of Commons contributed significantly towards the development of the Conservative Party. Disraeli provided the Conservative Party with strong coherent leadership, and in addition he was also the master of political timing. Evidence of Disraeli’s political timing can be seen when he recognised the opportunity in 1865 to oppose Gladstone’s reform bill, only to go on and propose his own similar legislation in 1867. Disraeli was a vital in this respect to the development of the Conservative Party. For the first time in the party’s history, thanks to Disraeli’s actions, the Conservatives passed a significant piece of legislation, whilst taking advantage of rifts within Liberal Party. Disraeli was showing the general populace that the Conservatives were capable of providing reform that was beneficial for the nation, and that the party could effectively lead the nation. In addition, the Second Reform Act also brought the Conservatives the working class vote, which was important for the Conservatives as they strove to realise one-nation Toryism. This meant that the Conservative Party was no longer narrowly focused on the landed classes, who were slowly loosing their influence in society. Therefore Disraeli masterminded the expansion of the Conservative Party, giving the party a more National emphasis. Thereby giving the party the capability to win seats both in the town and countryside, all over Britain. Furthermore, to get the vote you had to own property, and property-owning people generally aligned themselves to the Conservative Party, both due to their core principles, but also because of the party’s emphasise on the right to property. The significance of this act was that it gave the Conservatives a rare success during a period where they were struggling to define themselves. Finally, it can be argued that Disraeli influenced Conservative policy through his novels and it was from these novels that he develop the idea of One Nation Conservatism, this policy later came to define the party.

Disraeli no matter how much he influenced the development of the Conservative Party, he cannot be argued to be the sole contributing factor towards the party’s development. The alternative argument is that Disraeli’s contributions towards his party only really happened because he was simply fortunate in the lack of political rivals and that the divisions in the Conservative Party propelled him from mediocrity to the front bench. This is because the Conservatives lack anyone else who could lead them, especially after Gladstone had left the party. Furthermore Disraeli’s ascension through the party ranks was even more remarkable because the party grandees who set party policy did not trust him, firstly because he did not come from a traditional Tory background and secondly because he was Jewish, at a time when the Jews were still being viewed as outsiders. Consequently his relationship with Lord Derby was poor, and he was prevented as Chancellor of the Exchequer from most notably reducing taxes for the urban middle classes, whom Disraeli wanted to garner political from support in order to increase the party’s power base. Derby suggested that Disraeli lacked the ability and capacity to win the support of this vital group. The alternative argument is that Disraeli made very little contribution towards the development of the Conservative Party. The majority of the Conservative party at the time regarded Disraeli as an opportunist and an adventurer, as a result they attempted to minimise his role, by blocking some of his key actions.

It could also be argued that Disraeli simply put into place what Robert Peel had envisaged. As Disraeli recognised that the party itself needed to promote ideas such as Free Trade in order to secure power. Disraeli first implemented such initiatives towards free trade in 1852. Furthermore, it can be argued that after a period of ten years in opposition the Conservative Party began to adapt to the agenda that had been set by the government, which was fronted by Palmerston and the united Liberal Party.

To conclude, Disraeli’s contribution to the development of the Conservative Party was both significant and extensive. However, the development of the Conservative Party by 1868 cannot be entirely attributed to just one man. Initially the Conservative Party were simply using Disraeli’s skills as an orator, in addition to taking advantage of his broad appeal to all social classes. However, it is clear that Disraeli was in actuality motivated towards the development of the party and he strove to do so off his own back. The reasons for this are debatable: he most probably did so to strengthen the party, but also to stamp some of his own ideas into party policy as well. By 1868 Conservatism was still not clearly defined and Disraeli being Chancellor of the Exchequer at the time did not have the capability to offer any major political ideology for the party to unite around. Nevertheless, his contribution towards free trade and parliamentary reform was significant enough to unite and shape the party, which eventually united to form a strong Conservative government under Disraeli’s leadership, whereby he was able to stamp his political ideology of One Nation Conservatism and implement much needed social reform.


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