The Second Reform Act 1866/67

1865-1915 to be precise :)

HideShow resource information
View mindmap
  • Reasons why demand for reform increased and led to the second reform act
    • Population growth
      • The population of Britain increased from 24 million in 1831 to 29 million in 1861.
      • The adult male population in england and wales reached over 5 million- only just over 1 million had the vote.
        • They wanted the right to express their voices.
          • Despite the increase in the amount of working class, the vast majority still didnt have the vote.
      • Despite the increase in the amount of working class, the vast majority still didnt have the vote.
      • No changes in constituencies or any new ones created to correspond with the huge influence of people into industrial areas.
    • American Civil war
      • Provided publicity for the idea of equal rights
      • Northern blockades of southern ports meant that cotton supplies to Lancashire were cut off- however the people of Northern England put up with the hardship this brought them throughout 1861 and 1862 as they wanted to support the North's principle of anti-slavery
        • Politicians- especially Gladstone, were impressed with this behaviour and saw it as a sign of working class maturity.
          • Lowe quotes Gladstone as having said that it was "a scandal that bodies of men such as these should be excluded from the parliamentary franchise."
    • Radical Pressure
      • John Bright travelled the country giving a number of speeches in 1858/1859, in which he argued that it was time ordinary people got  a share in controlling their own fortunes.
      • John Bright said 'Palaces, baronial castles, great halls, stately mansions do not make a nation. The nation in every country dwells in the cottage.'
    • Trade Union Movement
      • In March 1864, a group of middle and working class reformers set up the reform union.
      • During the 1850's new, more moderate, model unions led by people like George Howell and Robert Applegarth began to grow.
      • Union leaders were in contact with radical mp's and succeeded in impressing a number of both political parties with the responsible manner in which they aimed to achieve reform and improved standards for workers... by legal not revolutionary means.
    • Gladstone's conversion
      • Gladstone eventually became convinced by the showing of responsibility by northern cotton workers over the northern blockade of southern ports during the American civil war.
      • Gladstone first publicly declared his change of heart in the commons in 1864 when he said "Everyman who is not incapacitated by some consideration of personal unfitness or political danger is morally entitled to come within the pales of the constitution.
    • Conservative willingness to accept reform
      • Disraeli, the conservative leader in the commons, was prepared to accept the idea that reform was inevitable and believed that if so, then the conservatives should take the public credit for it.
      • The tories had brought in a very mild reform bill in 1859 but it had been thrown out by the liberals as it would have brought very few workers into the system.
      • Disraeli knew the conservatives had to win back public support somehow.
    • Guiseppe Garibaldi
      • The democrat leader of the italian unification movement visited London in April 1864.
      • His visit gave more publicity to the idea of liberal reform and led to a group of his admirers forming the reform league in 1865.


No comments have yet been made

Similar History resources:

See all History resources »See all Modern Britain - 19th century onwards resources »