School of History

HST5355 - The Edwardian Crisis: Britain, 1900 - 1914

Module code: HST5355

Credits: 15
Semester: SEM 1

Module Convenor: Dr Robert Saunders

The years before the First World War were some of the most turbulent of the twentieth century. They saw the rise of the Labour Party, the foundation of the welfare state, the campaign for women's suffrage and a constitutional crisis that pitted "the Peers Against the People". 'Militant' suffragettes promised a 'sex war', millions of working days were lost in strikes, and senior politicians ran guns to a paramilitary army. The Conservative Party told its voters in 1914: "Britain may soon be stained with the blood of civil war. No method remains, except armed revolt, by which the will of the people may prevail". This QMUL Model module ranges from imperial crisis in South Africa to the Ulster crisis of 1914, introducing students to one of the most volatile periods of modern British history. It draws on a particularly rich seam of historical writing, introducing students to the techniques and approaches of the "New Political History", together with primary sources ranging from music hall songs and advertising campaigns to government papers and popular fiction. This module enables students to develop enterprise and communication skills by giving a presentation on research related to an archival source.  Students also reflect on socio-cultural values, including hostility to women's suffrage and support for empire, within a historical context. The issues it explores continue to resonate today: from the decline of the two party system and the break-up of the United Kingdom to the future of the welfare state and the relationship between Britain and Europe.

Assessment: Essay 1 (2,000 words) [50%] and Essay 2 (2,000 words) [50%]
Level: 5