The Guardian is one of Britain's leading newspapers, with a longstanding reputation as a platform for Liberal opinion and debate, and an international online community of 30.4 million readers. Founded in Manchester in 1821, it was created by John Edward Taylor, a cotton manufacturer. In the wake of the Peterloo massacre, the paper was intended as a means of expressing Liberal opinion and advocating political reform. Over the next century, the paper, originally known as the Manchester Guardian, would be transformed from a small provincial journal into a paper of international relevance and renown. This transformation was largely owing to the leadership of C. P. Scott (1846-1932), who began work at the Manchester Guardian in 1871. He became editor of the paper in 1872, cementing the Liberal editorial philosophy of the paper, and ensuring a consistently high standard of journalism and journalistic integrity. He championed causes including women's suffrage, home rule for Ireland, and the establishment of a Jewish homeland. Scott stood out against Britain's policy in South Africa during the Boer war, and conscription during the First World War, supporting the formation of the League of Nations and negotiations for peace in Europe. He became the owner of the Manchester Guardian in 1907. In 1929, Scott retired, and was made a freeman of the city of Manchester in 1930. On his death in 1932, the Manchester Guardian's editorship was inherited by his son Edward Taylor Scott.
As a staunch opponent of the Boer War, Scott was often called upon by his contemporaries to speak out against the British Government's political agenda throughout the First World War. Although he heavily criticised many governmental policies, Scott usually declined invitations to voice anti-war rhetoric (either personally or through the Manchester Guardian), believing that public opinion must be angled in support of the war efforts; only after the conflict ended, Scott felt, would political negotiations between the warring countries be able to resume. Scott remained engaged with the tense political relations between Ireland and Westminster throughout the War, advocating for the reinstatement of the third Irish Home Rule Bill (passed in September 1914 but postponed by the Government at the outbreak of war; then repealed in 1920). Under Scott's editorship, the Manchester Guardian maintained a network of wartime correspondents around the world and became a leading war news outlet.