Presentation on theme: "Election Day By Hogarth 1807"— Presentation transcript:
1 Election Day By Hogarth 1807 1832 Electoral ReformElection DayBy Hogarth 1807
2 What was wrong with the electoral system at this time? The Whig government that took over in 1830, under Earl Grey, realised that some parliamentary reform was badly needed to take into account the changes that had happened in Britain.After a long fight with the Lords the Reform Act was passed. The actual changes were not as important as the fact that the principle of reform had been established.The major questions asked about this period are:-What was wrong with the electoral system at this time?How was the Reform Act passed?How did the Reform Act change things?How close did Britain come to Revolution at this time?
3 Political and Economic Background By 1828 the Tory party’s attitude to reform was becoming increasingly unpopularFrom 1828 the British economy was in decline and bad harvests were not helpingPopular discontent in the usually quiet countryside did not help the governmentSwing RiotsThe Whigs were promising ReformTory’s were splitting into progressives and Ultra’s
5 Politics before 1830 [I] The Constituencies The parliamentary system had developed in the middle ages and no longer reflected the true situation in Britain.Each County elected 2 MPs, and each borough (town) also elected 2 MP’s.Many boroughs no longer had people living in them while new, large, industrial towns did not have any MP’s - Pocket and Rotten BoroughsGeographical imbalance - The South of England had 380 out of 588 seats so landowners dominated Parliament
6 [ii] The Franchise (right to vote) The Franchise was full of anomolies.In the Counties the vote went to owners of land worth £2 (40 shilling freeholder)In the boroughs there were a variety of qualificationsIn some virtually all males had the voteIn others hardly anyone was qualified.This meant that most of the workers and some of the new middle classes had no vote.
7 [iii] Other factorsOnly about 440,000 out of a total population of 14,000,000 could voteWomen could not voteThere was no secret ballot which led to bribery and bullyingThe south was still over-represented at the expense of the North.Parliament was dominated by landownersMP’s were not paidMP’s had to have £300 worth of landConstituencies were unequal
8 Who was For Reform?The Whigs - led by Earl GreySupported by the industrialists and middle classes - they believed that unless there was some reform from above there could be revolution from below.They did not want democracy - but they would limit the vote to ‘responsible’ (property owning) members of society - Their arguments for change were:-An unreformed Parliament did not reflect the changes in societyThe unreformed Parliament was open to corruptionAn unreformed Parliament would not make needed changes in society.
9 Who was against Reform?The Tories - They saw reform as an attack on the establishment and status quo which would ultimately destroy the great institutions of the countryPeel (their greatest spokesman) argued :-The anomolies in the system made sure that all interests were represented somewhereRotten and Pocket Boroughs were useful in allowing men of talent to enter ParliamentReform would make it difficult to carry out the government’s business as there would not be enough Government MP’sOnce started, reform would be difficult to stop
10 How the reform Bill was Passed Grey instructed a committee to draw up a Bill that would satisfy demands for reform but would not go too far.March 1831 Lord Russell introduced the Bill to Parliament, it said:-56 small boroughs lost 2 MP’s 30 others lost 122 towns gained 2 MP’s 20 others gained 1The vote - In the countryside 32 qualification remained but tenants with property worth £50 could now voteIn towns the vote went to men who owned or rented property worth £10 a yearVoters had to be registered
11 The bill got through the House of Commons by one vote as the Tories had planned not to oppose the introduction but sabotage it at a later stage. This they did in the committee stage, delaying it. The King allowed the Whigs to hold a general election with reform as the main issue.The result was an overwhelming victory for the Whigs and reform. The Tories then blocked the Bill in the Lords. This led to riots and demonstrations throughout England and Wales. Finally, the threat by King William IV to create as many Whig nobles as necessary forced the Lords to back down. In June 1832 the Bill became law.
12 The Results of the ActThe Act increased the number of voters by about 50% from about 440,000 to 652,000. However, the first elections after the Act saw a Parliament similar to those before the Act. The south was still over-represented at the expense of the North.Still only a fifth of the population could votestill no secret ballotParliament remained dominated by landownersAlthough the Great Reform Act had not brought in democracy it had paved the way for future reforms of Parliament. It did not end the demands of reformers and radicals.Many people were disappointed with the Act and it would not be long before more reform happened
13 Discussion pointsWhy were the Whigs in favour of parliamentary Reform?Why were the Tories against Parliamentary Reform?What changes were made to the electoral system by the great reform Act?Was Britain near revolution in 1832?
14 Possible examination Questions Why was there a demand for parliamentary reform in 1830?How far did the government meet the demand for reform?