Jeremy Bentham, 1745-1832

Jeremy Bentham, the English moral philosopher, jurist, social reformer, political economist and founding father of modern utilitarianism was born in London on 15 February 1748. His ambitious father, also a lawyer, had plans for young Jeremy to become Lord Chancellor of England, not only making his name but also his fortune in the process. Despite […]

Thomas Hill Green, 1836-1882

Thomas Hill Green was that rare combination, a high-powered philosopher and political theorist who also contributed effectively to practical politics. His friend, the Cambridge philosopher, Henry Sidgwick, said that while he could hold his own with Green in metaphysics and epistemology, when it came to politics, ‘I always felt the chances were that before long […]

John and Barbara Hammond, 1872-1949 and 1873-1961

John Lawrence Le Breton Hammond (known as Lawrence) was born in 1872, the son of the Vicar of Drighlington in the West Riding of Yorkshire. Lucy Barbara Bradby (known as Barbara) was born in 1873, the daughter of the headmaster of Haileybury College. Married in 1901, the Hammonds had no children. They became pioneer social […]

Leonard Trelawney Hobhouse, 1864-1929

Leonard Trelawney Hobhouse, born at Liskeard, Cornwall on 8 September 1864, came from a long line of Anglican clerics. His father, the Venerable Reginald Hobhouse, was Rector of St Ive, near Liskeard, a position he had obtained through his political connections with Sir Robert Peel. His mother was a Trelawney from the prominent West Country […]

Community politics

Community Politics describes a particular style of locally organised campaigning on specifically local issues pioneered by the Liberal Party in the 1950s and 1960s and now practised by Liberal Democrat activists throughout the UK.

The New Liberalism

The disaster of the 1895 election, when the Liberals lost almost a hundred seats, struck a mortal blow at Rosebery's leadership and pointed to the urgent need for a new direction. Although for some it was the party's abandonment of its historic principles of self-help, voluntaryism and constitutional reform that lay at fault, to others it was the failure of the party to embrace the new imperialism. A growing number also felt that Liberalism's failure to formulate an adequate response to the new social problems of industrialisation had undermined its appeal.

Journal articles

E. D. Simon: Intellectual in politics

Biography of E. D. Simon, 1st Baron Simon of Wythenshawe

Saving Dunford House

The threat to Richard Cobden’s Sussex home

A truly remarkable man – but not a universal man

Review of Richard Davenport-Hines, Universal Man: The Seven Lives of John Maynard Keynes (William Collins, 2015)

The ‘European mind’ of late Victorian Liberalism

W. E. Gladstone and Joseph Chamberlain

Slippery Liberalism

Review of Edmund Fawcett, Liberalism: The Life of an Idea (Princeton University Press, 2015)

Liberalism: An outstanding introduction

Review of Michael Freeden, Liberalism. A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2015)

Old heroes for a new leader

Vince Cable explains why Roy Jenkins is his political hero

The legacy of Roy Jenkins

Evening meeting of the Liberal History Group, 27 June 2016, with John Campbell and David Steel. Chair: Dick Newby.

The Distributists and the Liberal Party

An analysis of the Distributists and their impact.

Old heroes for a new leader

The political heroes of Tim Farron and Norman Lamb

Reassessing John Stuart Mill

Review of Frederick Rosen, Mill (Oxford University Press, 2013).

Is the future orange?

Review of Paul Marshall and David Laws (eds.), The Orange Book: Reclaiming Liberalism (Profile Books, 2004).

Michael Freeden’s Liberalism

Review of Ben Jackson and Marc Stears (eds.), Liberalism as Ideology: Essays in Honour of Michael Freeden (Oxford University Press, 2012).

Liberal Thinkers

Report of the History Group conference fringe meeting, 5 October 2014, with Alan Beith, John Pugh, Liz Barker and Mark Pack; chair: Malcolm Bruce.

Reassessing John Stuart Mill

Review of Frederick Rosen, Mill (Oxford University Press, 2013)

Intelligent Liberalism

Review of Conrad Russell, An Intelligent Person’s Guide to Liberalism (Duckworth, 1999).

Philosopher of freedom

Wilhelm von Humboldt and early German Liberalism.

Heir to the New Liberals?

The contribution of the American philosopher John Rawls to political philosophy and Liberal thought.

The Rainbow Circle and the New Liberalism

Examination of the role of a little-known radical group in the 1890s in the evolution of the Liberal and Labour parties.

Think Liberal

Review of Duncan Brack and Ed Randall (eds.), Dictionary of Liberal Thought (Politico’s Publishing, 2007).

T. H. Green: Forgotten Liberal?

Arguments for T. H. Green as the greatest British Liberal.

Greatest of the Liberal philosophers

Review of Richard Reeves, John Stuart Mill, Victorian Firebrand (Atlantic Books, 2007).

John Stuart Mill’s ‘On Liberty’ 150 years later

An analysis of the most well-known work of the greatest of the Victorian Liberal philosophers, published 150 years ago this year, and an assessment of its relevance to 2009.

Thomas Paine

What was the impact of Thomas Paine on Liberalism and liberal thought?

Liberal thought

Review of Kevin Hickson (ed.), The Political Thought of the Liberals and Liberal Democrats since 1945 (Manchester University Press, 2009).


The ideas that built the Liberal Democrats

What do Liberal Democrats believe? And what stems from our historical legacy? Against the background of the ‘Agenda 2020’ review of values and beliefs, discuss the party’s ideological inheritance with David Boyle, Teena Lashmore and Nick Thornsby at the History Group’s fringe meeting at the York Liberal Democrat conference. Chair: David Howarth.

Great Liberal thinkers: lessons for the future

To mark the launch of our publication, ‘Liberal Thinkers’, Baroness Liz Barker and MPs Alan Beith, David Laws and John Pugh draw lessons from past Liberal thinkers for the future direction of the Liberal Democrats.