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During the last quarter of the nineteenth century Tory governments held office for seventeen years 1874 80 1886-92 95-1900 During this time Salisbury was Prime Minister for the last eleven years and was also a member of the cabinet for the first six To add to this he enjoyed the position of leader of the opposition during the Gladstonian ministries that interrupted this spell of Tory leadership What were the reasons for this Conservative political ascendancy and what was Salisburys contribution to it According to Michael Bentley Salisbury was the most formidable politician the Conservative Party has ever produced He ad the most impressive electoral record of any Victorian politician with his victories in 188 1895 and 1900 all secured with massive margins and his defeats in 1885 and 1892 close enough to leave the Liberals heavily reliant on the unpopular Irish Nationalists During Disraelis period in office 1874 1880 Salisbury served in the India Office and was later made Foreign Secretary after Derbys resignation in 1877 It is important to note here that Salisbury accompanied Disraeli to the Congress of Berlin arguably the ministrys biggest imperialist success His contribution to Tory Dominance here was that of winning support from the jingoes and thus encompassing a further section of society under the Conservative umbrella The 1886 election saw Salisbury come to power with a large electoral swing The conservatives had 316 seats compared to 191 Gladstonian Liberal and 83 INP As leader of the opposition almost throughout the two Liberal ministries of 1880 1886 Salisbury played a major part in crafting this electoral victory via several channels Firstly in an era of growing Trade Union power Salisbury had observed the growth of Villa Toryism as the middle classes began to move to the right for fear of
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