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What Makes a Democracy?
Universal or near universal suffrage
A Secret Ballot
Equal or near equal constituencies/ fair distribution of
seats
Anyone able to stand as an MP
No all powerful constitutional body- e.g. House of Lords
Access to information through the press…read more

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How Democratic was Britain pre-1867?
Suffrage- only 7% of men had the vote, working classes and women were
excluded from voting
Secrecy- voting took place at the hustings- Bribery, corruption and
intimidation were commonplace
Distribution of seats- remained unequal. MPs still represented county and
borough seats with great variations in size of population
Who can stand as an MP? - Only wealthy men could stand as candidates
as there was a property qualification and MPs were not paid a salary
Powerful constitutional bodies- The Tory dominated House of Lords was
not elected. It could stop the elected majority in the House of Commons
passing bills through parliament…read more

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Key Dates
1867- Second Reform Act
1872- Secret Ballot Act
1883- Corrupt and Illegal practices Act
1884- Third Reform Act
1885- Redistribution Act
1911- House of Lords Reform- Parliament Act
1918- Fourth Reform Act (not on the course but still worth knowing
about)…read more

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Reforms to Increase Suffrage
1867 Reform Act
Effects of the Act
The number of men who qualified for the vote increased from 1.5 to 2.5 million
1 in 3 adult males could not vote (up from 1 in 7 previously)- 16% of the adult population
could now vote
The franchise was extended to skilled, male town workers (urban) and well off farmers
The electorate in some of Britain's newer towns increased dramatically
The largest increases in the number of voters were in the large industrial boroughs
Criticisms of the Act
Many rural working class men and miners, due to the high property qualification, were still
not entitled to vote
Women still could not vote in General elections
The right to vote was still based on ownership of property
There was still no secret ballot- bribery, corruption and intimidation were rife
Historians on the Act
John Davis "for many years it was believed that the SRA brought something close to
universal adult male suffrage in urban Britain"- this of course is highly debateable
Lee "Disraeli was the victim of circumstance. A Tory Bill had to be distinct from Gladstone's
bill of 1866 and so it became more radical as a consequence"- arguing there was never
any real intention to achieve `democracy' through the bill…read more

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Reforms to Increase Suffrage (2)
1884 Reform Act
Effects of the Act
The number of men who qualified for the vote was increased from 2.5 to 5 million
2 in 3 adult males could now vote (60%)
29% of the adult population now had the vote
Voting qualification in the boroughs and counties were now identical
Criticisms of the Act
Many working class men (40% of adult males in Britain) were still not entitled to the vote
Women still could not vote in general elections
The right to vote was still based on ownership of property
Plural voting existed- this meant a man could have many votes if he owned property in different
constituencies
Universities still elected members of parliament
Historians on the Act
G.D.H Cole and Raymond acknowledge that "by 1884, the franchise had ceased at last... to be a class
privilege"- perhaps for the middle classes, but by and large many working class men were still not
entitled to vote
D.G. Wright argued "By modern standards, Victorian democracy was undemocratic. Although the
democratic principle had been accepted in 1867, one man, one-vote never existed in Victorian Britain, even
after the Third Reform Act"- takes the one man, one-vote principle as being key to democracy…read more

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Comments

pavsahota

fantastic PowerPoint !! I used this to revise 1 hour before my mock exam and got 34/45 - just crept into an A!! Very precise and perfectly laid down the foundations for me to write a good essay !! 10/10

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