British Liberalism - The Grand Tour


Adam Smith And The Whigs20151208

Anne McElvoy explores the history of British liberalism. Today she revisits the innovative ideas of the Scottish philosopher Adam Smith and the wider influence of the Whig aristocracy.

With Amanda Foreman and Keith Tribe

Producer: Phil Tinline.

John Locke V Arbitrary Power20151207

Anne McElvoy tours 300 years of British liberalism.

Anne starts in Oxford in 1683, with the story of the last large-scale book burning in Britain. She traces how dissident philosopher John Locke took on the whole principle of the arbitrary power of the monarchy.

As Anne discovers with the help of Justin Champion and Hannah Dawson, dissident texts were burned and Locke was repeatedly driven out of the country and hunted by the King's agents. Yet all the time he was developing his ideas on the proper limits of power, and on religious toleration.

When James II was ousted in 1688, Locke returned to London in triumph, and his ideas have helped to shape how we live ever since.

But, as Anne explores in later episodes, the story of British liberalism is not one of straightforward victories. Locke explicitly excluded non-Anglicans from his vision of liberty. And what about black people, or women?

Over the course of the first five programmes, Anne traces the development of the ideas we now call liberalism through the lives and works of Adam Smith, Mary Wollstonecraft, Thomas Clarkson, John Bright and John Stuart Mill.

She explores how a rebellion led by black Jamaicans led to a massacre - and how demands that the British Governor of Jamaica be put on trial divided Victorian intellectuals against each other.

And she ends the first week of programmes with the apotheosis of one kind of liberalism in the era of William Gladstone, even as a different version of his creed was taking shape.

In the second week, Anne takes us from the non-violent Suffragist campaign for votes for women, onto the triumph of an elite liberalism in the 1960s - and explores how, ever since, the idea of liberalism has grown more and more complicated.

Producer: Phil Tinline.

John Stuart Mill, John Bright And The Morant Bay Massacre20151210

Anne McElvoy explores the ideas of two high Victorian liberals - John Stuart Mill, and, via a visit to Manchester, John Bright.

She explores how a Jamaican rebellion and its bloody suppression roused them against state violence.

With Eugenio Biagini, Stuart Jones, Ben Griffin, Edmund Fawcett and Richard Huzzey.

Producer: Phil Tinline.

Keynes V Hayek - Liberals In The Slump20151215

Anne McElvoy explores rival solutions to the 1930s Depression. The ideas of JM Keynes and Friedrich Hayek were often seen as opposed - but Anne explores why both men were liberal.

With Richard Cockett, Edmund Fawcett and Jon Lawrence.

Producer: Phil Tinline.

Mary Wollstonecraft And Thomas Clarkson - Expanding The Charmed Circle20151209

Anne McElvoy returns to the late 18th century to explore two efforts to extend liberty and basic rights beyond white men.

Barbara Taylor explains how young 'radical democrat' Mary Wollstonecraft came to write her Vindication of the Rights of Woman.

And Anne travels to Liverpool to meet Richard Huzzey, who tells the story of Thomas Clarkson, who endlessly toured England in his campaign against the slave trade.

With Barbara Taylor and Richard Huzzey.

Producer: Phil Tinline.

Millicent Fawcett And Votes For Women20151214

Anne McElvoy retraces a votes for women march, led by the non-violent Suffragist movement, to rediscover the story of its liberal leader, Millicent Fawcett.

With Elizabeth Crawford and Ben Griffin.

Producer: Phil Tinline.

Roy Jenkins And Margaret Thatcher20151217

Anne McElvoy explores the rise and fall of the 1960s liberals like reforming Home Secretary Roy Jenkins, and how economic liberals like Margaret Thatcher took a different path.

Producer: Phil Tinline.

The Cold War20151216

Anne McElvoy explores the distinctively embattled liberalism that emerged in the Cold War.

Producer: Phil Tinline.

The Limits Of Liberalism20151218

Anne McElvoy explores how, since its 1960s highpoint, liberalism has come under pressure, and what this tells us about liberalism's limits, and its future.

Producer: Phil Tinline.

William Gladstone20151211

Anne McElvoy explores how 'Gladstonian' liberalism came to dominate Victorian Britain - and how it formed a bridge from a liberalism that tried to push the state back, to one that tried to take it over and use it to improve society.

With Eugenio Biagini, Edmund Fawcett, Ben Griffin, Stuart Jones, Jon Lawrence.

Producer: Phil Tinline.