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The (1867) 2nd Reform Act.

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1 The (1867) 2nd Reform Act

2 The Second Reform Act (1867) Reform Union & Reform League
‘A Leap in the Dark’ Factors promoting reform revival Extra / parliamentary radicals demand Reform Union & Reform League Middle and working class dissatisfaction with 1832 Population growth (1831 = 24m > 1861 = 29m) Industrial, urban expansion Respectable, deserving working class - US civil war Death of Palmerston – Shift in Liberal Party Doctrine

3 Extra Parliamentary Pressure
Reform Union Established by John Bright (MP) Birmingham Middle class movement Sought W/C allies against landed Aims for household franchise Redistribution to urban seats Reform League Established 1865 Working Class Movement Supported by NMU’s Seeks universal male suffrage but registered/residential Keep out unskilled – Residuum League and Union cooperate for limited reform Pressure brought on government

4 Represented the majority of the country’s views
The Liberal Party 1850’s - Liberal Party dominance under Palmerston Reform Bills all rejected By 1864 Gladstone was converted to reform 1865, Palmerston’s death – arch anti reformer Replaced by Lord John Russell Why, in the absence of anything resembling the scale of extra-parliamentary protest seen in , did parliamentary reform so suddenly assume such prominence in the mid-1860s? A number of explanations are possible, but the most important reason was almost certainly the death of Palmerston in Though almost 82, his death was unexpected and it brought Russell back to the prime ministership. One old man notably averse to parliamentary reform was succeeded by another who obstinately retained a boyish enthusiasm for it. Gladstone had been persuaded. After his unequivocal declaration in the Commons in May 1864, the cause of parliamentary reform could not be characterised within the Liberal party as the preserve only of a few idiosyncratic radicals and zealots, plus, of course, Lord John Russell. Liberalism was a reformist creed in the wider sense. One reason for the broad base of support enjoyed by the Liberal party was that a wide range of reformist causes could find a home within it. Parliamentary reform was by no means dominant in this. Among a very large list were the Anti-Slavery Society, the Liberation Society (which campaigned against the excessive power and privileges of the Church of England), movements for improved public health provision and a rash of organisations aimed at increasing educational standards among the people. Most of these had cross­-class appeal. Whigs Peelites Radicals Liberals Represented the majority of the country’s views

5 Gladstone authored the 1866 Reform Bill Franchise extended to;
Catered to creating Whig support & limiting rural W/C Voters No. of Male voters increased from 1:5 to 1:4 Defeated by the Adullamites in league with Disraeli Russell resigns The Queen invites Lord Derby to form a government Disraeli becomes HoC Leader & Chancellor of the Exchequer Householder Lodger County £14 per year £10 per year Borough £7 per year X Created 400,000 new voters The Adullamites were a small group of Liberal politicians who, during the debates on parliamentary reform in 1866 and 1867, acted in opposition to the rest of their own party in order to uphold a constitution founded upon ‘property’ and ‘intelligence’. They resisted any extension of the franchise whose effect was, in their view, liable to herald the ‘rule of numbers’, by which they meant democratic forms of government. Although their assumptions about the proper distribution of political power were shared by most members of parliament, and held widely in the country, the Adullamites are reckoned to have numbered only about twelve MPs (Cowling, 10). At the height of their influence in 1866, they mobilized up to forty dissident Liberal members, and they also had adherents in the House of Lords. They belonged to the coalition of interests which had formed the Liberal Party under the leadership of Palmerston until his death in 1865, but they distrusted his successors, the prime minister, Earl Russell, and the leader of the House of Commons, Gladstone. Their organizer and driving force was a former Peelite, Lord Elcho, ‘a man of booming, crude, unsubtle energy’. As a group the Adullamites ceased to function after the beginning of the Easter parliamentary recess in While Elcho gravitated back towards his Conservative origins, Grosvenor declined office in Derby's government and was later reconciled to Gladstone. In 1868 Lowe became chancellor of the exchequer in Gladstone's first ministry, the prime minister valuing Lowe's ability to resist the potentially extravagant budgetary expectations of an electorate which had been enlarged far more widely than either man had wished.

6 45 Borough seats redistributed
1867 Reform Act Lord Derby and Disraeli in Commons form minority Tories out of power since 1846 – Desperate for a win Introduce reform bill (March 1867) 45 Borough seats redistributed Disraeli enlisted the support of pro-reform Liberals There was growing discontent that needed addressing Reform League (Hyde Park Riots) Householder Lodger Borough 1 year residence £10 per year County £12 per year £5 per year Created 1.2M new voters For a minority Conservative administration to succeed in highly controversial legislation which had tripped the Liberals up would be an immense boost to Derby, now embarked on his third brief stint as prime minister, and Disraeli, who eyed the succession ever more covetously as his chief aged. A successful Conservative bill would raise morale both at Westminster and in the constituencies. Derby seems to have realised the possibilities earlier than Disraeli. He later told a colleague that 'he did not intend for a third time to be made a mere stop-gap until it should suit the convenience of the Liberals to forget their dissensions. In the borough's the vote was given to all householders who paid rates, provided they had lived in their house for at least one year. Lodgers paying £10 a year rent also received the vote. In the counties the vote was given to all ratepayers paying £12 a year in rates leaseholders holding land valued at £5 a year Boroughs with a population of under 10,000 lost one MP. This released 45 seats for redistribution; 25 of them were given to the counties, 15 to Boroughs which had not had an MP up till now, one was given to the University of London, and the third member was given to Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham. Scotland voting criteria was brought into line with the English pattern and seven seats were transferred from England to Scotland. In Irish boroughs the vote was given to £4 ratepayers. Disraeli calculated that sufficient radicals would support any bill which significantly increased the number of voters to secure a majority there. Moreover, the Conservatives appeared to be less frightened than the Liberals of that full 'household suffrage' favoured by the Reform League without fussy restrictions on rental values. Convinced reformers in parliament could hardly vote against a generous enhancement which they knew to be strongly supported outside Westminster merely because it appeared in Conservative, rather than Liberal, wrapping. Disraeli intended to postpone reform in Ireland indefinitely, offering the excuse that Fenian nationalist activity rendered major franchise changes unsafe there. A very pallid Reform Act was eventually passed in 1868, however, which increased the borough franchise by about 50 per cent to 45,000 or so, in significant part because some county voters were now transferred to the boroughs. Scotland also had its own Reform Act in 1868 which changed things a good deal more. The principles were broadly the same as those for England with the exception that no lodger franchise was needed. Under Scottish law, lodgers were legally tenants so that distinction had no force. Scotland received in 1868 what amounted to a householder franchise in the boroughs. This borough electorate consequently increased by almost three times; in England it slightly more than doubled. As in England, though, practicalities restricted the franchise. Those who did not pay rates could not vote, and this requirement alone disfranchised approximately two-thirds of the Irish householders in the borough of Glasgow.

7 The ‘Leap in the Dark’

8 Rejection of Gladstone / Russell Bill (June 1866)
Social Unrest Rejection of Gladstone / Russell Bill (June 1866) July: Demonstrations, riots Hyde Park and Trafalgar Square X3 nights Only League able to restore order Tense situation compounded by: Sheffield outrages (1866) Loss of union fund protection Cholera epidemic Expensive bread Downturn in trade The failure of the Liberal bill provoked some violence in Hyde Park in late July In May 1867 demonstrators defied a ban on holding a meeting there, requiring the authorities to use force to keep them out. In October 1866, a group of Sheffield saw grinders, who were on strike, attempted to blow up the house of a fellow worker who had refused to support their action. This incident, and others which followed it in 1867 collectively known as the 'Sheffield Out­rages', were widely reported and led to detailed enquiries. All forms of coercion were contrary to that emphasis on freedom and mutual tolerance which lay at the core of Liberal radicalism. Enquiries into trade union violence did more to embarrass the Reform League, whose Secretary was the bricklayers' leader George Howell, than it did to influence Disraeli. Similarly, the development of Fenianism in Ireland had little direct impact. The rising in Ireland in 1867 was an 'ignominious defeat' and the famous Clerkenwell bombings, part of a bungled attempt to release Fenian prisoners in London, took place in December after the Second Reform Act was on the statute book.

9 ‘The Hyde Park Railway to Reform’
Social Unrest 2nd Reform Act introduced: February 1867 May: Reform League rally, Hyde Park Government ban on rally. 100,000 strong rally proceeds Government’s fear: return to Chartist mass platform Pass bill to calm situation Enfranchise respectable working class Repeat of 1832: take away top layer ‘The Hyde Park Railway to Reform’ Reform was no panic response to coercion. Derby and Disraeli were not bowing to a process which it was beyond their power to control. Extra-parliamentary pressure did have its effect, however. Liberal radical and working-class pressure had put parliamentary reform firmly on the agenda by the middle of The failure of Russell's initiative would not take it off again. The extent, and the co­ordination, of reaction to that failure is worth stressing. Quite apart from the overplayed Hyde Park incident, the summer of 1866 saw major street demonstrations and protest meetings in a large number of places, including Birmingham, Bristol, Norwich and Rochdale. The Reform League provided the organisational impetus but the predomi­nant mood of the skilled working classes was clear enough. 'In all demonstrations anger and indignation featured prominently: the workers wanted vindication of their moral character against the charges of chronic drunkenness and depravity. Resolutions approved at meetings ... regularly placed great emphasis on the respectability of the working classes'. We may conclude that Disraeli was able to grasp his great tactical opportunity in large part because extra-parliamentary pressure had created the climate in which some kind of reform was widely seen as inevitable.

10 Control seat redistribution
Party struggle Tories in minority since 1846 Reform inevitable and accepted Pass reform; Amendments rejected: Votes for women Election expenses from rates: Shows fear of new (Labour) party development Gain popularity Control reform Control seat redistribution Secure the County vote The key to understanding Disraeli's success in the Commons in the spring of 1867 lies in three other factors not dependant on his own skills: the desperation of the Conservatives for success; the lack of understanding about the fran­chise which most backbench MPs had; and the relative weakness of party discipline before the 1870s. There were no three-line whips and MPs were quite prepared to vote on important matters according to their consciences. Disraeli had two objectives: to ensure that a Tory bill got on to the statute book and to block every suggested amendment or 'improvement' which came from the Liberal leadership. Disraeli was, indeed, extremely adroit but praise for his tactics should not be unstinting. If he had no fixed opinion on the details of the bill provided it could get a Commons majority, if most Liberal radicals would support a measure which went further than Gladstone and Russell had been prepared to do and if most other MPs were resigned to reform anyway, then it did not need political 'genius' to succeed even without a Commons majority. The 'Hodgkinson Amendment’ abolished in parliamentary boroughs the practice of 'compounding', whereby landlords paid rates (for poor law and other charges) directly to the authorities on behalf of their tenants. Disraeli’s acceptance of the amendment transformed the scope of the bill, adding perhaps 400,000 voters. This clause alone virtually doubled the existing borough franchise before other, less contentious, extensions were taken into account. Disraeli accepted what was a poorly-drafted amendment (needing considerable later attention) because it did not have broad Liberal party support and especially because it would embarrass its leader­ship. A tighter rating amendment than Hodgkinson's was on offer from H. C. E. Childers but it was known that Gladstone intended to speak in its favour and Disraeli would not tolerate any kind of endorsement from the opposition front bench. It was his amendment which made the Second Reform Act such a 'leap in the dark'.

11 Disraeli’s shrewd political footwork. ‘Dishing the Whigs’
Verdict on 1867 Disraeli’s shrewd political footwork. ‘Dishing the Whigs’ Gains Tory advantage, Quells agitation and riots Wider effects of 1867: Age of mass politics: growth of party organisation 1 in 3: England, Scotland and Wales 1 in 6 in Ireland Mass electorate: difficult to bribe, intimidate Prompts further parliamentary reform; 1872 Ballot Act & 1883 Corrupt Practices Act (Gladstone) Mass politics meant that the electorate had increased to the extent that an MP could not simply check in with their constituents. The party had to put in place a system that would allow them to stay in touch with their supporters nationwide. Gladstone and Bright took well to this, touring the country giving speeches whilst Disraeli failed to adapt his campaign strategy. MP’s now needed logistical, financial and political support necessitating the development of a party organisation. 1872 Secret Ballot Act Before 1872 voting was a public act. One reason that this was the idea that those given the privilege of voting was somehow representatives of all the people living in that community and, as a result, everybody in the local community had the right to know how each filter had voted. Open voting, however, allowed and sometimes encouraged bribery and intimidation and opponents argued that it should be replaced by a secret ballot. In constituencies which had a reputation for a corrupt electorate continued to cause concern after 1872, it seemed that the only difference is secret ballot had made was that voters could now take bribes from both sides. It was not until the corrupt practices act of 1883 that the conduct of elections was at least partially cleansed of corruption. 1883 Corrupt Practices Act The ballot act of 1872 failed to end bribery. Corrupt practices were commonly used in elections as late as Just as the 1868 general election was the turning point which led to the secret ballot, the 1880 general election led to the corrupt and illegal practices act. The general election of 1880 was disgraced by widespread corrupt practices. Following the election, the government introduced a bill designed to put an end to corrupt practices. This bill became law in August 1883.It was the experience of elections under the secret ballot the persuaded the majority of MPs to support further measures to counter corruption. Politicians disliked having election costs, especially since the secret ballot meant that those who accepted bribes would not necessarily do the honourable thing and vote for their benefactor. Some electors might even take bribes from both candidates. The corrupt and illegal practices act was by no means the first piece of legislation designed to eliminate electoral corruption. But, its penalties were much more severe than those imposed by previous legislation and historians agree that, in the long term, it was a success.

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