Skip to main content
Select Source:

Burns, John E.

Burns, John E. (1858–1943). Trade union organizer and exponent of ‘Lib-Labism’. Burns was born in south London. Despite little formal education he became an engineer, and involved himself in the Amalgamated Society of Engineers and more generally in working-class politics in London's dockland. An accomplished orator, he was one of the organizers of the great London dock strike of 1889, which marked a watershed in the development of trade unionism among unskilled manual workers. In 1884 Burns had joined the Social Democratic Federation, and acquired a reputation as a socialist militant. But by the 1890s he had broken both with Marxism and with trade unionism, supporting instead the furtherance of working-class interests within the Liberal Party. Elected as an independent Labour MP for Battersea in 1892, in 1905 he accepted office as president of the Local Government Board in the newly formed Liberal administration. Burns resigned from the government in 1914, apparently in protest against the declaration of war with Germany. He retired from Parliament in 1918.

Geoffrey Alderman

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Burns, John E.." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Encyclopedia.com. 24 May. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Burns, John E.." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Encyclopedia.com. (May 24, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/burns-john-e

"Burns, John E.." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Retrieved May 24, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/burns-john-e

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Burns, John

John Burns, 1858–1943, British union leader and politician. A factory worker as a child, he was largely self-educated and was led by his reading to radical socialism. Burns became an outstanding orator, and in 1889 he was one of the leaders of the London dock strike, an attempt to organize the ill-paid unskilled laborers. Burns was elected (1892) to Parliament among the first labor representatives, but he quarreled with James Keir Hardie and soon abandoned both socialism and the trade union movement. Henceforth associated with the Liberals, he was president of the local government board (1905–14), but resigned from the cabinet in protest against Britain's entry into World War I. He retired from Parliament in 1918.

See biography by K. Brown (1977).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Burns, John." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 24 May. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Burns, John." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (May 24, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/burns-john

"Burns, John." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved May 24, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/burns-john

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.