Political Leadership in 20th Century Britain

Module code: HS7019

Module co-ordinator: Stuart Ball

Module Outline

This module examines the gaining, use and loss of power by the most significant individual in the British political system: the Prime Minister. After an introductory session discussing themes and sources, each of the following nine sessions will examine a significant Prime Minister of the twentieth century: Arthur Balfour, David Lloyd George, Stanley Baldwin, Ramsay MacDonald, Winston Churchill, Clement Attlee, Harold Macmillan, Harold Wilson and Margaret Thatcher. In each case, we will consider their background and rise to power; their personality, methods and image; their effectiveness as Prime Minister, and the reasons for their departure from office. There is an extensive secondary literature, including many biographical studies of the various Prime Ministers, and a wide range of published contemporary sources, in particular of the diaries and letters of leading politicians. 


Seminars, directed reading, independent research.


2 x 2,500 word essays.