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Issue 2 Revision How did Britain become more democratic between 1867 and 1928? Higher.

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Presentation on theme: "Issue 2 Revision How did Britain become more democratic between 1867 and 1928? Higher."— Presentation transcript:

1 Issue 2 Revision How did Britain become more democratic between 1867 and 1928? Higher

2 Issue 1 v. Issue 2 Both deal with Britain’s progress to democracy but while Issue 1 focuses on WHY the changes happened, Issue 2 deals with the evidence that shows HOW FAR Britain could be called democratic. Both issues have common factual content to an extent

3 Issue 2 – Things to think about! An assessment of how democratic Britain had become by 1928 compared to the middle of the nineteenth century. What had changed to make Britain more democratic? What are the main elements within a democracy? How far had they been achieved by 1928?

4 Some context Beginning of 19 th C authority was in hands of landowning wealthy men – they believed change was unnecessary “The British constitution is the best that ever was since the creation of the world, and it is not possible to make it better” (Lord Braxfield, 1793) “Britain is land. It is therefore the land owners – those who own the land of Britain – who deserve the right to govern” (The Duke of Wellington, 1829)

5 Some more context Important step towards democracy came in 1832 (Great Reform Act) Growing economy was producing a wealthy middle class who resented being excluded from the political system Argued since they produced the wealth of the country, they should have a say in its government “I support this (reform) because I am sure it is our best security against revolution…we must admit those it is safe to admit” (Thomas MacAuley, 1831)

6 Did the Reform Act of 1832 make Britain more democratic? Changed the areas represented by MPs to reflect the population changes caused by industrialisation Right to elect an MP was taken away from some depopulated areas and the busier industrial towns got a few more MPs to represent them Middle class males owning property of a certain value gained the vote but most, including all women, had no political voice Power of aristocracy continued and bribery and intimidation at elections remained 5/6 males still couldn’t vote MPs were still unpaid and to be an MP you had to own property As a result, Britain was nowhere near being democratic in 1850

7 How far did Britain become more democratic between the mid 19thC and 1928? Participation Fairness Access to information Accountability to voters Choice The Right to Vote

8 Did Britain become more democratic between 1850 and 1918? CHOICE 3 national parties to vote for by early 1900s Formation of Labour Party, 1906 ACCOUNTABILITY The Parliament Act, 1911 The loss of the House of Lords’ veto ACCESS TO INFORMATION Education Act 1870 (1872 in Scotland) Spread of Railways from the 1850s Cheap national newspapers/Introduction of tabloids,1900s THE RIGHT TO VOTE Second Reform Act, 1867 Third Reform Act, 1884 Representation of the People Act, 1918 Representation of the People Act, 1928 FAIRNESS The Secret Ballot Act, 1872 Redistribution of Seats Act, 1867,1885,1918 Corrupt and Illegal Practices Act, 1883 PARTICIPATION/OPPORTUNITY TO BECOME AN MP Abolition of property qualification for MPs, 1857 Payment for MPs, 1918

9 The Right to Vote Given to more and more people Process called the extension of the franchise Without it people cannot influence political decisions 1867: most skilled working class men living in towns (boroughs) given right to vote By giving vote to men owning property above a certain value and lodgers paying rent above £10 a year, vote was extended to skilled working men who could afford to live in property above required value (A) Therefore Britain became more democratic because nationally, this reform was to double the number of men who were entitled to vote.

10 Right to Vote (2) Next extension of franchise was 1884: men living in the counties (generally referred to as the countryside) given vote on same rules as men in towns. This made Britain more democratic because years before next franchise reform happened. 1918: Representation of the People Act gave the vote to another 13 million men and 8 million women over 30 years of age. As a result Britain could be considered more democratic. Not until 1928 did men and women aged 21 or over get equal political rights.

11 Fairness Fair system of voting necessary 3 things had to happen if Britain was to become more democratic 1. Voting in secret should be introduced and 2. the distribution of MPs around the country would have to be rearranged. 3. Corruption and threats also had to be removed

12 Fairness (2) 1867 Reform Act helped Britain become more democratic, voting was still open to bribery and intimidation Secret Ballot Act 1872 allowed voters to vote in secret polling booths Corrupt and Illegal practices Act 1883 limited how much candidates could spend during election time and banned activities such as the buying of food or drink for voters Election expenses were limited and the intention was to make elections fairer with no political party dominating a constituency because of its wealth

13 Fairness (3) Another attempt to make the political system fairer was the redistribution of seats Britain divided into constituencies – areas of the country that send one MP to parliament A constituency is also called a ‘seat’ because it represents one seat in parliament In the 19thC the population spread across Britain had changed a lot Town grew in size while rural areas became less well populated

14 Fairness (4) New laws in 1867, 1885 and again in 1918 tried to make distribution of MPs fairer by giving the right to send more MPs to parliament in busy areas and taking the right to have an MP away from depopulated areas (A)The redistribution of seats attempted to make political representation fairer which is an important part of a country being considered democratic

15 Choice A country is not democratic if voters have no choice Although many working class men had gained the vote in the 1880s there was no national working class party for them to vote for By 1900 a new party – the Labour Party – had been created to campaign for working class interests Development of the Labour Party is most easily explained as a series of alliances between socialist groups and the realisation by trade unions that it would be helpful to have a political voice in parliament to look after the interests of the working classes

16 Choice (2) Not all working class men voted Labour but the creation of the Labour party provided choice which is an essential ingredient in a democratic society (K/A) However, for people to make a real choice they must have information about their candidates

17 Choice – Party Organisation Conservative Central Office Primrose League, 1881 National Liberal Federation, 1877 Branch Associations

18 Access to Information Literacy is important in a democracy so that people have access to information on which they base their choice By late 19 thC, basic literacy was quite well established in Britain Secret ballot and extension of franchise also created a voting population eager for news and information Development and spread of railways spread info quickly to all parts of the country while local authorities were convinced that improving people’s minds and health were vital to a stable prosperous nation

19 Access to information (2) In every town libraries sprung up providing not only books but also newspapers and meeting rooms for debate and political meetings Cheap, daily newspapers also spread across the nation, carried by railways, while politicians used the rail network to criss-cross the country making speeches and building support

20 Accountability Means that parliament reflects the wishes of the voters and is answerable to them In 1900, the House of Lords was not elected, yet it had the power to scrap, or veto, any of the ideas of the elected MPs in the House of Commons For Britain to be a democracy the power of the House of Lords would have to be changed Issue came to a head when the HoL tried to block the right of the elected government to raise money through taxation

21 Accountability (2) Without money from taxes the government could not function After long argument and two more general elections the parliament Act of 1911 resolved the situation The Parliament Act 1911 was an important step on the road to democracy as it reduced the power of the House of Lords which now had no say over budgets and could no longer veto or block bills (laws) passed by the House of Commons (A) They could only delay them for two years Parliament Act also reduced the maximum length of time between general elections from 7 to 5 and provided payment for Members of Parliament, thereby allowing men of the working class to consider standing for election as an MP

22 Participation/Opportunity to become an MP In a democracy, people who want to be involved in politics should be able to participate That might mean joining a political party or standing for election as an MP When political power was in the hands of the wealthy the issue of payment for MPs never arose - they felt it was their duty to serve their country. They were also wealthy enough to spend in time in parliament without worrying about payment

23 Participation (2) For most of the 19thC, MPs were not paid and had to own land Although the property qualification to become an MP ended in the 1850s, working class men, who had to work for their living for fairly low wages, could not afford to give up their day job to become a politician. Without a regular income how could they or their families survive?

24 Participation (3) For Britain to become more democratic the chance to become an MP would have to be opened to everyone, and in 1911 the Parliament Act introduced payment for MPs, thereby allowing ordinary people greater access to the political process (A)


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