Arthur Henderson as Labour Leader

Author: McKibbin, R. I
Published in: International Review of Social History, vol. 23(1978) no.1, p. 79-101.
Summary: Arthur Henderson was the only member of the industrial working classes to lead a British political party. He was the only trade unionist to lead the Labour Party, and, as well, one of only two active Christians to do so. In the history of the Labour Party's first thirty years he seems to have a centrality shared by no other man. But what constitutes his centrality is a genuine problem, and both his contemporaries and his colleagues were aware of it. J. R. Clynes once wrote: “I would not class Mr. Henderson as a type, but as one quite unlike any other of his colleagues.” In this article I would like to test this judgement, to examine both Henderson's “typicality” as a historical figure in the labour movement, and the significance of his career as a labour leader.
Copyright: Copyright © Internationaal Instituut voor Sociale Geschiedenis 1978
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