Chamberlain Day and the popular meaning of Tariff Reform

Article

By David Thackeray, published 31st May 2003

Few Conservative institutions appealed to the Tory rank-andfile activist like the Tariff Reform League did in the opening two decades of the Twentieth Century. From its foundation in 1903, the League spearheaded Joseph Chamberlain’s crusade to grant tariffs on imported goods, acting as his grassroots organisation. This article attempts to offer an insight into the previously neglected but crucial question of why Tariff Reform appealed to Chamberlain’s core supporter, the local Conservative activist. Tariff Reform had two distinct agendas, domestic and imperial.

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