John Bright was one of the greatest British statesmen of the nineteenth century. In a series of Punch cartoons in 1878, Bright featured alongside Disraeli and Gladstone as among the most influential politicians of the age. However, his profound contribution to British politics and society has been virtually forgotten in the modern world. Bright played a critical role in many of the most important political movements of the Victorian era, from the repeal of the Corn Laws to Home Rule. In his great campaign leading up to the Reform Act 1867, he fought for parliamentary reform on behalf of the working class and for the abolition of newspaper taxes. Internationally renowned as an orator, he was a dedicated opponent of slavery and champion of the North in the American Civil War. His testimonial for Abraham Lincoln's re-election was found in the President's pocket on his assassination. He was vigorously opposed to the Crimean War and campaigned against the oppression of the Irish tenantry and colonial subjects throughout the Empire. Fiercely independent, he eventually split from the Liberal Party over Home Rule, becoming a Liberal Unionist. In this new biography, the first for over 30 years, Bill Cash provides an incisive and engaging portrait of a man who influenced the politics of his generation more than virtually any other, with important implications for the present day.
Statesman, Orator, Agitator