You are not currently logged in. Please create an account or log in to view the full course.

Pressure Groups and Lobbying

1. The History of Pressure Groups

This is the course trailer. Please create an account or log in to view this lecture.

  • Description
  • Cite

About this Lecture


In this module, we think about the history of pressure groups and how they have changed over time, focusing in particular on: (i) the characteristics of the first ‘pressure groups’ – the Anti-Slavery Society (1823-38) and the Anti-Corn Law League (founded 1838); (ii) the rise of the political party as a means of effecting economic, political, and social change; (iii) the creation of chambers of commerce and trades union to represent business and workers’ interests, respectively; (iv) the influence of pressure groups in the First and Second World War and (especially) in the creation of the Welfare State, e.g. the British Medical Association, the National Farmers Union, etc.; (v) the increase in mass membership organisations from the 1960s onwards, including Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, the extent to which these groups represented a break from what had gone before, and the reason why these groups emerged at precisely this moment; and (vi) the rise of tripartism in the 1970s and its fall under Thatcher in the 1980s.


In this course, Professor Wyn Grant (University of Warwick) explores the importance of pressure groups and lobbying in the UK political system. In the first module, we think about the history of pressure groups and how they have changed over time, starting with the Anti-Corn Law League of the early 19th century and going all the way through the Extinction Rebellion in the present day. In the second module, we think about how we might categorise different kinds of pressure groups, before turning in the third module to a specific where a pressure group has set out to achieve a particular goal – and achieved it. In the fourth module, we think about the role of commercial lobbyists, i.e. groups that are paid to lobby on behalf of business interests, before turning in the fifth and final module consider whether pressure groups and lobbyists strengthen or undermine modern democracy.


Wyn Grant is Emeritus Professor of Politics at the University of Warwick. In 2010 he was presented with the Diamond Jubilee Lifetime Achievement award of the Political Studies Association of the UK, and in 2011 he was elected an Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences. His most recent publication is Lobbying: The Dark Side of Politics (2018).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Grant, W. (2020, December 21). Pressure Groups and Lobbying - The History of Pressure Groups [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Grant, W. "Pressure Groups and Lobbying – The History of Pressure Groups." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 21 Dec 2020,

Get instant access to over 7,300 lectures