Disraeli is a key figure for students of nineteenth-century Britain. He is indelibly identified with the unmaking of Peel's version of the Conservative Party, and with the re-creation of a durable and outstandingly successful new party which retained the loyalty of the squires and the shires while reaching out to newer forms of property ownership and cultivating the attachment of a significant proportion of the urban working class.
John K. Walton here examines the major aspects of Disraeli's career and his legacy, asking how far his actions and policies were governed by principles and how far by expediency. He also enquires how far Disraeli set his own agenda and how far he was a rider of currents out of his control. Finally, Walton takes a careful look at his political, institutional and ideological legacy.