OCR AS British History 1815-1851 Acts, Laws and Statutes

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Name Year What did it do?
Act of Union 1800 In 1798 there was a revolt against British rule in Ireland. After it had been put down the British government decided to bring Ireland
under closer control. The act of Union, In 1800 abolished the Irish parliament in Dublin, from now on 100 Irish MPs had to
travel to London to sit in parliament. The loss of their own parliament angered many Irish, what made it worse was that Catholics
that formed the majority of Ireland's population, were not allowed to become MPs but they could still vote.
Corn Laws 1815 - June Tariffs, or import duties on foreign wheat. Importing wheat was banned until British wheat reached 80 shillings (4 pounds)
1846 a quarter (about 13kg). Once the Napoleonic Wars had ended in 1815, Landowners, who dominated parliament, demanded a ban
on imports of foreign wheat. They said that Britain needed to be self-sufficient in case of another war and because the population
was rising so quickly. They Knew that hunger and famine had been one of the major causes of the French revolution and were
determined to avoid such a revolution in Britain. They also wanted to protect their own income from their lands. Critics saw it as
class legislation passed by landowning parliament for selfish reasons. In 1828 the Corn Laws were modified to include a sliding
suspension of 1817 The law that anyone arrested had to be charged with an offence and brought before a court. After the Latin for 'you have
the Habeas the body'
The Six Acts 1819 These acts were dubbed the 'Gagging Acts'. They: 1. banned military-style drilling and training. 2. Gave magistrates increased
powers to search for arms. 3. Banned public meetings of over 50 people unless they had magistrates permission. 4.
Speeded up trials. 5. Imposed further restrictions on the press. 6. Increased the tax, or stamp duty on newspapers so as to
make radical writings, like those of Cobbett, too expensive for poorer people.
Reciprocity of 1823 This act allowed the British government to make agreements with other countries whereby Britain would get rid of such
Goods Act restrictions on trade with a particular country if the other country agreed to do the same. This would help reduce the cost of
imports, such as raw materials. This was particularly important for the textile industry.
Reform of the 1826 The Penal Code in England was made up of hundreds of different laws which stated what sentences should be administered for
Penal Code which offences. Some of these laws were very old, many of them were overlapping or even contradictory. The system was very
inefficient and some offences were completely inappropriate. Peel set out to simplify the law, he reduced what had been
hundreds of different laws to just 8. He introduced transportation to Australia.
The Gaols Act 1823 Local prisons were often filthy and inhumane. Gaolers were often unpaid and therefore likely to try and extort money from the
inmates. The Gaols Act obliged each county and large town to maintain a prison, paid for by local taxes and controlled by
the magistrates. It also established a standard system of discipline and inspection and stated that gaolers should be paid
and inmates provided basic education.

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Repeal of the 1824 In 1799 and 1800, at the height of the war with France, the government had banned trade unions, or combinations of working men.
Combinations 20 years later, a campaign was launched by radical MP Francis Place to repeal the Combination law and thus make it legal
Act to form trade unions. Although the government did not actively support the campaign for repeal, they did not oppose it
either.…read more

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The Third December The Whigs introduced a third reform bill and it passed the commons with a 2:1 majority. In April 1832 Earl Grey introduced
Reform Bill 1831 - June the bill in the house of lords. On the 15th of April the Lords passed the new bill but it still had to be examined by the house
1832 of Lords' committee. On 7th May the committee rejected the bill the Whig government resigned.…read more

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The public 1848 The Main points of the Act were: 1. it established a general board of health, with three members, one of whom was
Health Act Chadwick. 2. The Board had the power to establish local boards of health if there was a petition from at least 10% of the
local ratepayers or the annual death rate exceeded the high figure of 23 per 1000 of the population. 3.…read more



Fantastic set of revision notes for this subject - highly recommended!

Megan K

I think it is well set out, but when set out it looks vacant- personally i would have included Luddism etc. well formed and good statistics.


This document is purely for the acts, laws and statutes of the period. Luddism was a concept and ideology of the Luddites. 

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