Parliament and the People c.1800-1918

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  • Parliament and the People c.1800-1918
    • The political system was not very representative in 1800
      • No secret ballot - people voted in public, which encouraged corruption
      • Candidates would bribe voters or host parties to win support
      • Two revolutions led to scrutiny of the British system
        • In 1776, Britain's American colonies declared independence from Britain
        • 1789: The French Revolution scared British aristocrats; they thought a similar revolution might happen in Britain
      • The Rights of Man by Thomas Paine argued that the British political system was corrupt - 200,000 copies were sold before it was banned
      • "Rotten Boroughs" - constituencies that could have had as few as one or two voters
    • The Great Reform Act brought some political change
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    • Some working-class activists felt betrayed by the Great Reform Act
    • Trade Unions and the Labour Party wanted further reforms
    • Women achieved the vote due to campaigning and war work


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