Clement-Jones family v2/21 - Person Sheet
Clement-Jones family v2/21 - Person Sheet
NameLeonard Trewlawny HOBHOUSE , 7718
EducationMarlborough and Corpus Christi College Oxford.
FatherThe Ven Reginald HOBHOUSE , 7717 (1818-1895)
Notes for Leonard Trewlawny HOBHOUSE
Leonard Trelawny Hobhouse (September 8, 1864 – June 21, 1929) was a British liberal politician and sociologist, who has been considered one of the leading and earliest proponents of social liberalism. His works, alongside that of writers such as T.H. Green and John A. Hobson, occupy a seminal position within the canon of New Liberalism. He worked both as an academic and a journalist: in 1907 he shared, with Edward Westermarck, the distinction of being the first professor of sociology to be appointed at the University of London. His sister was Emily Hobhouse, the British welfare activist.


Hobhouse was born in St Ive, near Liskeard in Cornwall,[1] the son of Reginald Hobhouse, an Anglican clergyman, and Caroline Trelawny. His sister Emily Hobhouse was a noted welfare campaigner.

He attended Marlborough College before reading Greats at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, where he graduated with a first-class degree in 1887. Upon his graduation, Hobhouse remained at Oxford as a prize fellow at Merton College before becoming a full fellow at Corpus Christi.[2]

Taking a break from academia between 1897 and 1907, Hobhouse worked as a journalist (including a stint with the Manchester Guardian) and as the secretary of a trade union.[3]

In 1907, Hobhouse returned to academia, accepting the newly created chair of sociology at the University of London where he remained until his death in 1929.

Economic policy

Hobhouse was important in underpinning the turn-of-the-century 'New Liberal' movement of the Liberal party under leaders like Asquith and Lloyd George. He distinguished between property held 'for use' and property held 'for power'. Governmental co-operation with trade unions could therefore be justified as helping to counter the structural disadvantage of employees in terms of power. He also theorized that property was acquired not only by individual effort but by societal organization. Essentially, wealth had a social dimenson; it was a collective product. This means that those who had property owe some of their success to society and thus had some obligation to others. This, he believed, provides theoretical justification for a level of redistribution provided by the new state pensions.
It is important to note, however, that Hobhouse disliked Marxist socialism, describing his own position as social liberalism. Hobhouse occupies a particularly important place in the intellectual history of the Liberal Democrats because of this.

Civil liberty

His work also presents a positive vision of liberalism in which the purpose of liberty is to enable individuals to develop, not solely that freedom is good in itself. Hobhouse, by contrast, said that coercion should be avoided not because we have no regard for other peoples' well-being, but because coercion is ineffective at improving their lot.
While rejecting the practical doctrines of classical liberalism like laissez-faire, Hobhouse praised the work of earlier classical liberals like Richard Cobden in dismantling an archaic order of society and older forms of coercion. Hobhouse believed that one of the defining characteristics of liberalism was its emancipatory character, something that he believed ran constant from classical liberalism to the social liberalism he advocated. He nevertheless emphasised the various forms of coercion already existing in society apart from government. Therefore, he proposed that, to promote liberty, the state must ameliorate other forms of social coercion.
Hobhouse held out hope that Liberals and what would now be called the social democrat tendency in the nascent Labour party could form a grand progressive coalition.

]Foreign policy

Hobhouse was often disappointed that fellow collectivists in Britain at the time also tended to be imperialists. Hobhouse opposed the Boer war and his sister, Emily Hobhouse, did much to draw attention to the abject conditions in the concentration camps established by the British Army in South Africa. Initially opposing the First World War, he later came to support the war effort.[5] He was an internationalist and disliked the pursuit of British national interests as practised by the governments of the day.
Last Modified 7 May 2012Created 11 Dec 2021 using Reunion for Macintosh