During the 19th century, the British working class (and its intellectuals too) lagged behind continental Europe in adopting the new language of socialism. Why was this? The left (in any country) has always tended to fragment into those groups driven by revolutionary ideology, and those seeking a more pragmatic path, possibly through Parliament. These are the issues which we will explore in depth, to follow the promise of socialism from the 1870s through to the 1920s.

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