After a review of the origins of Liberalism before 1830, Parry examines in turn the strategies of successive Liberal leaders from Grey to Gladstone and Hartington. Parry argues that nineteenth-century Liberalism tried to maintain the rule of a propertied but socially diverse, rational, and civilized elite, in the belief that this was the best means to administer the state economically and equitably and to promote an industrious and virtuous citizenship. Because of the widespread popularity of the economic, foreign, and religious policies followed to, this end, and because of the flexible, sometimes cynical, presentational skills of Liberal leaders, the Liberal party became the most popular party for much of the century. After 1867, however, Gladstone's idealist religious temper diverged from the Liberal mainstream and led in 1886 to the destruction of the party as the natural ruling body in England. Liberalism was the dominant political force of Victorian Britain. Between 1830 and 1886 a coalition of anti-Conservatives known at various times as Whigs, Reformers, and Liberals was in office for over forty years and lost only two out of fourteen general elections. This book presents the first modern overview of Liberal government during its nineteenth-century heyday. Arguing that Liberalism was a much more coherent force than has generally been recognized, Jonathan Parry gives an account of its rise and fall, in the process reinterpreting the pattern of political development during this period.