"There were the problems of how to maintain the continuity of sensible policies, as seen by the elites of the country - above all in economic affairs. Would not democracy inevitably inferfere with the operations of capitalism, and - as businessmen considered - for the worse? Would it not threaten free trade in Britain to which all parties were religiously attached? Would it not threaten sound finance and the gold standard, keystone of all respectable economic policy? This last threat seem urgent in the USA, as the mass mobilization of Populism in the 1890s, which directed its most passionate rhetorical thunderbolts against - to quote its great orator William Jennings Bryan - the crucifixion of mankind on a cross of gold?"
"The Age of Empire: 1875–1914" - Eric Hobsbawm