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The Growth of Democracy

Uploaded by K8 on Nov 19, 2000

In 1850, Britain was an undemocratic country. At this time the electoral system divided Boroughs and Counties. Voting qualifications were different in boroughs and constituencies. The vote was only given to men over the age of 21 providing their property was valued at £10 or more, or land was more than £2 per year in rent. Seats were distributed unequally and traditional ruling families usually formed the Cabinet. Furthermore, bribery and corruption were widespread and only the minority of the population were entitled to vote. At this time there was no form of a basic education for the population masses and there was still a lot of power lying within the House Of Lords and not with elected officials. A certain degree of money was necessary to stand for election because this was not a paying job, which, as a result stopped vast numbers of people standing for election because the did not have the finances to support themselves. Nor were they able to afford to stand for election as due to bribery and corruption, the poor stood no chance of winning as they did not have the money to provide voters with what they wanted in return for their support. For democracy, there needed to be regular elections and although at this time elections were every seven years, this was not often enough.

However between 1850 and 1918, progress was made towards Britain becoming a democracy. Now there was better communication and education increasing political interest and this influenced people in trade, industry and finance. Economic changes made people better off and left them wanting to take part in politics, and be represented in parliament.

This general desire for the widening of the franchise led to pressure groups forming in 1864.

The Extension of the Franchise was helped by the Second Reform Bill passed in 1867. In this act, all householders who paid rates with 12 months residence and all £10 a year lodgers with one years residence in the Boroughs were given the Franchise. In the Counties, the Franchise was given to those £5 property owners and all those who occupied property with a rateable value of £12 or in Scotland, £14. This act changed the views of The Liberals and The Tories as they now saw that many people backed the idea of a widening of the franchise. Party opinions changed in order to woo voters in the towns,...

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Uploaded by:   K8

Date:   11/19/2000

Category:   History

Length:   8 pages (1,712 words)

Views:   1955

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