"'Gladstone's attack on Disraeli's foreign policy was the most important reason for the Conservative defeat in the 1880 election.' How far do you agree? [50]" - How would one write an introduction to this essay question?

The introduction of an essay of this nature should aim to answer the question in relatively simplistic terms, in order to provide a basic outline which can be elaborated on throughout the body of the essay. It is also the section where the candidate should define the key terms of the question, as well as any key terms which will be pertinent to answering the question.

In this instance specifically, the candidate should aim to provide 2-3 other factors relating to the defeat of the Conservatives (such as Disraeli's inability to campaign, the poor state of the British economy or poor harvests the previous year) in addition to the one stipulated by the question (Gladstone's rhetoric  against Disraeli's foreign policy). The candidate should aim to directly answer question, stating the importance of Gladstone's attack in the context of the other factors. This will provide an outline for the arguments of the essay to come for both the candidate to refer to whilst writing as well as showing the examiner that the candidate provides a consistent argument. Secondly, the candidate should also define what is meant by “foreign policy”, as well as also defining key terms of any other factors the candidate deems relevant to the 1880 Conservative defeat (e.g. Tory Democracy or Imperial policy).

Answered by Edward G. History tutor

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