1829: Birmingham Political Union founded by the banker Thomas Attwood. Pressure group to focus and lead reform movements. Some 15,000 people attended the first meeting of the BPU in January 1830. By May 1832, around 100,000 people were attending meetings of the BPU, 1/4 were fully paid up members.
1830: General elections. King George IV died in summer of '30 so a general election took place. Duke of Wellington resigns and so new king, William IV, asked Whig Leader, Earl Grey, to become Prime Minister.
31 March 1831: First Reform Act.31 March 1831 the gov proposals were introduced into the commons by Lord John Russell.
-Proposals were an attempt to shift the balance of representation away from the landowners are towards the middle classes:
- 61 boroughs were to lose both their MP's
- 47 boroughs were to lose one MP
- MPs were to be reduced in number from 658 to 596
- 46 seats were to be given to the large industrial towns of the Midlands and the North
- There was to be only one voting qualification: that of owning or renting a house worth more than £10 a year, and to be a man.
- Bill was passed by just one vote. Earl Grey uneasy as 1 was not enough.
- Those opposing would be able to get amendments agreed that would reck it completely. He was right. The first amendment was passed objected to the reduction of the number of MPs.
- Grey acted swiftly, he persuaded the King, William IV, to dissolve parliament and hold a general elections.1831 General election proved great triumph for the reformers. Earl Grey, Whig PM, had a majority seat of 130. July 1831: Second Bill went through. And on 22 September passed its third reading in the commons by 109 votes. Sent back to lords were things changed.
- Majority members of the House of Lords were known to be against reform. On 8 October 1831, after a fiery debate lasting five years and nights, the Lords voted on the Reform Bill. Threw it out by 41 votes.
- 1831-32: Cholera epidemic hits Britain. Roughly 32,000 people die.
- 1831: Violent reaction in country. Riots in Bristol, Derby, Nottingham and other cities, and in small towns like Blandford in Dorset and Tiverton in Devon. The windows of the Duke of Wellington's London home were smashed. Radical, reforming newspapers appeared with black borders as a sign of mourning. New political unions were formed in towns that had previously had one and the older unions were strengthened. The Church of England was attacked in the press; 26 bishops sat in the House of lords and all but five of them voted against reform. Everywhere there were protest marchers and property belonging to anti-reform lords were attacked by stone-throwing mobs.
Days of may: Men like Thomas Attwood and Francis Place were determined to stope any likelihood of the Tory leader, the Duke of Wellington, being able to form gov. Westminster was flooded with anti-Tory petitions the BPU announced that 200,000 men would march on London and stay there until the Bill became law. Francis Place suggested that investors should withdrawal all of there money from brokers at the same time, thus creating an enormous finical crisis. 'Stop the Duke!' and 'Go for gold!' were slogans should in the streets of London and provinces.
1831 begin: King asked Wellington to investigate the possibility of forming an administration that would bepledged to limited reform. When Sir Robert Peel, the leader of the Tories in common, Refused to serve under him, Wellington knew his task was impossible. William IV, who had never formally acceptedGrey's resignation, asked Grey to take over again. This time, he promised to create as many reforming peers as Grey needed to get his Bill through the Lords.
1831 continued. In the end the threat to create peers was enough. Once new peers were created, they would be there for always. There would, therefore always be a Whig majority in the Lords. The Tory Lords could not contemplate this possibility. 1832: When the reform bill came up for its final reading in Lords, most of those who were opposed it simply stayed away and the Reform Bill was passed by 106 votes to 22. King William IV signed the Bill on 7 June 1832. The reform bill became the Reform Act of 1832.
England and Wales:
Disenfranchisement: 56 rotten and pocket boroughs returning 111 MPs lost their representation. 30 boroughs with fewer than 4,000 inhabitants lost their MP. Weymouth and Melcombe Regis lost two of their four MPs.
Redistribution: 65 seats were given to the county. 44 seats were given to the boroughs - including Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield. 21 smaller towns were given one MP each, including two new Welsh single member seats, although some Welsh boroughs were still grouped in order to return one MP. Scotland was given 8 more MPs. Ireland was given 5 more MPs.\
Franchise In counties: vote given to adult males who: Owned freehold property worth at least 40 shillings (£2) a year. Holding a copyhold (a special kind of lease) on land worth at least £10 a year. Leasing or renting land worth at least £50 a year.
Franchise in boroughs: Owning, or living in, property worth at least £10 a year, provided they had lived there for at least a year & didn't owe any taxes on the property, & that they hand't relieved poor relief in the previous year. Who had the vote under the old qualifications but didn't qualify under the new ones.
1829: Roman catholic relief act. RCs given the right to vote in general elections and stand for the election to the house of commons
1837: Queen victor accedes to the throne.
Size of the electorate in England and wales:
1831: Counties, 239,000. Boroughs, 200,000. Combined, 439,000.
1833: Counties, 370,379. Boroughs, 282,398. Combined, 652,777.
% of increased from '31-'33: Counties: 55%. Boroughs: 41%. Combined: 49%
Adult males entitled to vote in England and wales: 1831, 12.7%. 1833, 18%
Electorate in Scotland:
There were 30 Scottish county seats in total, as before, but now comprising:
- 27 counties with one seat. 3 groups of 2 counties, each group with a single seat. There were 23 Scottish burgh (borough) seats - an increase of eight seats:
- 1 extra seat for Edinburgh, given it 2 seats. 1 extra seat for Glasgow, which now had 2 seats and was no longer part of a group of burghs. 14 seats for groups of smaller towns, as previously but minus Glasgow, with each group having a single seat. 5 additional seats for individual towns.
Franchise: Scottish counties: £10 property owners.£10 long term leaseholders and £50 medium-term leaseholders. £50 tenants. Previous voters, not otherwise qualified, retained franchise during their lifetimes.
Franchise: Scottish Burghs: £10 Householders/occupiers (subject to 1year residence without claiming poor relief). The old system of indirect voting in groups of towns, was abolished; previously each burgh had elected only a single delegate who then voted at the election. 1/8 could vote men.
Electorate in Ireland:
- Important change in '29. Part of process of Catholic emancipation, the county franchise had been raised form £2 (40 shillings) to £10. Slashed the county electorate from about 216,000 to 37,000.
- Most english politicians, in the period before and after the Reform Act, were unwilling to increase the size of the Irish electorate, fearing the rise of Catholic influence. In the '32 only a minor change to the enfranchisement of certain leaseholders - were conceded.
- Political parties did attempt to increase their own support by registering voters under the new Irish system Raised the total to 60,000 or thereabouts, which still meant that only about 1/20 Irish men had the vote.
- System of registration was confused and uncertain. Qualified county voters were stopped from voting because they had not been properly registered, and the unqualified allowed to vote because they had been wrongly registered.
- Landlord increasingly refused to grand long lease, for motives that were mainly economic but partly political. In county Waterford the electorate was halfed between 32 and 41.
- In 1840 only 7% of Irish farmers assessed for poor rates at £10 and above actually had the vote.
After the changes in Ireland there were 32 Irish County seats, as before each with 2 seats.
There were also 5 extra Irish borough seats:1 Extra seat each for 4 major towns. 1 extra seat for the university of Dublin.
Franchise Irish counties: £10 property owners (retaining the change made in '29 after Catholic Emancipation). £10 leaseholders, providing that the lease was for at least 20 years.
Franchise Irish boroughs: £10 householder. In some boroughs (designated 'counties of cities') £10 freeholders and leaseholders were also entailed to vote. Those entitled to vote before '32 retained this right during their lifetimes. 1/20 men could now vote.
1836: London's Working Men Association (LWMA) founded. Founding members were William Lovett, Francis Place and Henry Hetherington; they aimed to appeal to skilled workers seeking reform. National Radical Association of Scotland founded.
1837: Six points of the 'People's Charter' written. Produced by members of the LWMA together with 6 radical MPs. 1. A vote for every man twenty one years of age, of sound mind, and not undergoing punishment for crime. 2. The ballot —To protect the elector in the exercise of his vote.
3. No property qualification for members of Parliament—thus enabling the constituencies to return the man of their choice, be he rich or poor. 4. Payment of members, thus enabling an honest tradesman, working man, or other person, to serve a constituency, when taken from his business to attend to the interests of the country.5. Equal constituencies securing the same amount of representation for the same number of electors,--instead of allowing small constituencies to swamp the votes of larger ones. 6. Annual Parliaments, thus presenting the most effectual check to bribery and intimidation, since though a constituency might be bought once in seven years (even with the ballot), no purse could buy a constituency (under a system of universal suffrage) in each ensuing twelvemonth; and since members, when elected for a year only, would not be able to defy and betray their constituents as now.
Nov 1837: First appearance of the Northern Star. Chartist newspaper printed in Leeds and edited by Feargus O'Conner. 1838 11,000 a week. 1839 36,000 copies sold a week. 6 August 1838: Great rally held at Holloway Head in Birmingham. Rally accepted the 6 points of the People's Charter and agreed that Chartists would collect signatures for a national petition in support of the charter to be presented to parliament. Rally agreed that there would be a national chartist convention. Mass rallies meetings held throughout the country, many to elect delegates to a National Convention.
February 1839: National Convention met in London. Talked about changing the authority of government. Moderate Chartist leaders, too, took care to avoid referring to this as a 'Nation Convention' because this phrase had uncomfortable echoes of french revolution. Wished to confine business to organising the Petition and dispatching speakers, known as 'missionaries', to promote chartist ideas throughout the country and gather signatures. More radical chartists did envisage the convention as a 'People's Parliament' and a direct rival to the HOC. Began to go beyond discussing petition itself in order to plan for 'ulterior measures' in case of its rejection by parliament. This discussion of 'ulterior measures' alarmed William Lovett and the moral force chartists and they walked out of the convention.
May 1839: National Convention moved to Birmingham. After Lovett walked out, 35 surviving delegates reconvened on 13 May 1839 transferred to Birmingham, as London seen as 'lukewarm'
July 1839: Riots at the Bull Ring in Birmingham, followed by the return of the National Convention to London. Chartist petition was 3 miles long and containing 1,280,000 signatures. Rejection of Chartist Petition by parliament (235 votes to 46). National convention proposed strike action, known as the 'Sacred Month'.
Ulterior measures: - Withdraw savings from banks in hopes of creating a finical crisis.
- Boycotting heavily taxed goods or even refusing to pay taxes in order to threaten widespread economic distribution.
- Refusing to pay rent and arming for defence against government repression.
- Calling a general strike, to be known as a 'National Holiday' in a 'sacred month' to create widespread economic disruption.
1834 Poor Law Amendment Act: - Often called the New Poor Law, this piece of legislation was an attempt to centralise and impose some king of order on the patchwork system of poor relief that had existed in the past.
- Key to this was the division of the poor into 'deserving' and 'underserving', and establishing a network of workhouses, where people were to be admitted in order to receive relief.
- Although the implementation of the New Poor Law varied from place to place, and 'outdoor' relief continued to be the most usual way of helping the poor, there was no escaping the intention of the government to replace 'outdoor' relief with indoor relief.
- It seemed, and not without reason, like a conspiracy between the government in order to reward the middle classes for their support for parliamentary reform bur at the same time to separate them from the working class.
- Also argued by many that middle-class ratepayers had been enfranchised in '32, and were now being kept on the side of the go by a cost cutting New Poor Law.
- This seemed plausible because one of the aims of the New Poor Law was to reduce the burden on the rates of poor relief but these changes also spread fear and humiliation.
The impact of economic depression:- Economic crisis of 30s and 40s. 37-42 were the most difficult economically for the whole century for working people. Bead prices, stable since 1815, began to rise alarmingly and in '39 wheat reached the unheard of peak price of 81 shillings a 1/4, with a corresponding knock on effect on the price of bread. People who became chartists, were craftsmen such as printers, tailors and cabinet makers, factory workers like the cotton spinners of Bolton and the wool combers of Bradford, and domestic outworkers such as hand loom weavers, framework knitters and nail makers. Manchester cotton operatives were thrown out of work for several months at a time if the American cotton crop failed.
April 1839: government appointed Major General Sir Charles Napier to command 6,000 troops in the Northern District (Northern england) gave him responsibility for keeping law and order there.
November 1839: violent rebellion took place at Newport in south wales. It was led by John Frost, who had been Newport’s delegate at the Chartist Convention. 7,000 coalminers and iron workers assembled at various points on the outskirts of the town, planning to march into the town and attack the Westgate Inn, where the mayor and magistrates were holding captive some fellow workers. Poorly managed and distributed by bad weather. Attack on Westgate Inn took place in the early morning of 4 November. Small body of soldiers conducted a successful defense in the skirmish that only lasted about half an hour but which resulted in over 20 civilian deaths. By end of day, John Frost had been arrested and the authorities had little difficulty regaining control.
January 1840: Attempted risings in Sheffield and Bradford. Many Chartists, including the leaders,arrested, tried and imprisoned
July 1840: National Charter Association foundedThe chartist conference in Manchester forms the NCA and attempts to reinvigorate the movement. Lovett released from prison. In April ’41 NCA claimed to have 13,000 members, which by April 1842 grew to 50,000. Laregly due to influence of O’Conner. He influenced NCA policy while in Gaol through letters and directives to leading Chartists and through his column in the Northern Star. Local groups nominate delegates to a general council.
April 1841: National Association founded by William Lovett as a rival to more militant NCA.
August 1841: Feargus O’conner released from Jail.
September 1841: NCA agrees to present another petition. General trade depression lead to increased Chartist support.
Plug riots: By 11 August in ’42 most of the cotton mills, dye works and machines shops in Manchester and the surrounding areas had stopped work, leaving approx 50,000 workman idle. A conference of delegates from all the trades involved met in Manchester, appealed law and order, and endorsed the Charter. Unrest spread across the Pennines to Yorkshire, where one of the techniques used by strikers was to pull plugs from boilers, thus putting out furnaces. Without the steam, factories and mills couldn't work. This technique was extremely effective because it prevented employers from brining in strike-breaking workers. Strikes continued into September '43 but had largely been suppressed by October, with around 1,500 arrests and a tightening of control by the police and military.
Did government take threat of revolution seriously?
- Queen was moved to the safety of Osbourne on the Isle of Wight, although the Foreign Secretary Lord Palmerston worried that the defences of the island were inadequate, and Duke of Wellington put in charge of the defence of London.
- 8,000 solders were called up along with 1,5000 Chelsa Pensioners (all ex-soilders) one some 150,000 special constables enrolled,
- Property owners in the capital seemed excessively nervous and feared that this was the start of an English revolution.
April 1842: Chartist convention meets in London. Police asked O'conner to bring petition by himself with no followers as feared the worst. When the day came, crowds of Chartists assembled on Kennington Common to listen to O'conner. Around 20,000 people were on common. No violence and the crows having listened to O'conner peacefully dispersed. Petition taken to HOC in 3 cabs.
May 1842: Read the petition this time. Signatures counted and inspected. Far from 6 million O'conner claimed. Fewer than 2,000,000. Many discounted as fictitious i.e. Duke of Wellington. Others written in same hand discounted - as many illiterate and scared of retribution by authorities.
Power of state:
- Legislation was in place for creation of new, professional police force. This applied to London in 1829 and to the counties from 1839. Recruitment was steady, new police force were increasingly used by the authorities to contain and control demonstrations.
- The '30s and '40s were periods of great railway building, by 1840 1,500 miles of tracks linked most of Britain's major towns and cities and this had risen to almost 6,000 miles by '48. Gov made full use of the rail network to move troops (for example, Napier and his men) quickly to any trouble spots.
- Government could command huge numbers of men to control any Chartist outbreak - far more than any Chartist demonstration or rally could raise. Special constables, most came from the middle classes, enrolled for specific events and dedicated to support the gov in maintaining law and order and to protect property.
Achievements of Chartists:
Working class consciousness: Tremendous satisfaction in feeling that others cared about their situation - which in days before TV and radio, many felt were unique to their trade town. Feeling that united, working people could make a difference.
Working-class solidarity and focus: Emerging from this sense of purpose was a shared focus of hostility towards a state that appeared to be operating in the interests of the propertied classes.
Working Class organisation of protest: Existing schools did not always embrace Chartist ideals and where such schools were non-existent or unsatisfactory, enthusiastic Chartists took over. At Stalybridge, for example, Chartists set up sunday school and day school in the People's Institute.
October 1842: Trails of Chartist leaders following their arrests.
March 1843: O'Connor tried in Lancaster convicted on minor changes and realised.
September 1843: Chartist convention agrees to support O'Connor's Land Plan to buy land on which to settle Chartists.
1847: First Chartist Colony (O'Connorville) opened in Hertfordshire O'connor elected MP for Nottingham.
Chartist and landownership:
The Chartist Land Company was enormously popular, especially with hand loom weavers and similar craft workers, who were facing harsh conditions as they competed with factory-produced goods. More than £100,000 was collected from 70,000 subscribers, hopeful of being able to aqquire land. Lucky subscribers were given land through a lottery system; they then paid rent of £5 a year to provide funds for further purchases of land, so that ultimiality all subscribers would be settled.
The Chartist Land Company succeeded in creating about 250 settlements before it was wound up in 1851. On a particular level, many of the settlers found it difficult to make a living. Sometimes avoided paying rent or alternatively resented the fact that they could not become outright owners. Furthermore, O'Connor encountered numerous legal complications, which gov showed little interest in solving. Land Company was neither a friendly society nor a joint-stock company but simply a lottery. Continuation of the Land Plan would be illegal and O'Connor's attempts to find alternative framework were rejected by the Courts. Therefore, O'Connor had no choice but to secure a private Act of Parliament to settle to debts. The houses and plots were sold off. The Land Plan was certainly idealistic and O'Connor failed to find a way of making it work. However, he was not entirely to blame: the hostility of the authorities should not be underestimated.
February 1848: Revolution in France, followed by widespread revolutions across Europe.
March 1848: Riots in London, Manchester and Glasgow.
April 1848: Massive Chartist demonstrations in London on Kenninngton Common; Third Chartist Petition rejected by the parliament.
May/june 1848: Chartist riots in London and Bradford. Chartist land colonies opened in Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.
1851: Chartist convention adopts programme of socio-democratic reform. Chartist Land Company closed down.
August 1851: National Co-opertaive Land Company wound up.
December 1851: Ernest Jones and George Julian Harney resigns from the NCA.
March 1852: Last issue of the Northern Star
June 1852: O'Connor declared insane. Suport drifts away as economy revives.
1858: Last Chartist convention held. Agreement made to co-operate with moderates to press for further parliamentary reform.
1852: Reform Bill brought in by Lord John Russel's Government (LIBERAL). Proposed to extent the vote to men living in properties in boroughs worth £5 a year and in counties £10. Radicals opposed the Bill because it didn't go far enough, others opposed because it went to far, and so Russell withdrew the Bill.
1853: Reform Bill brought in by Lord John Russel's Government (LIBERAL). Proposed to extent the vote to men living in properties in boroughs worth £6 a year and in counties £10. Bill fell on the outbreak of the Crimean War.
1864: Formation of National Reform Union. A mainly middle-class organisation, pledged to fight for household suffrage and redistubriton of seats.
1865: Death of Palmerston (Liberal). Palmerston had become a leading opponent, within the Liberal Party of further reform. Bad harvest which caused widespread distress. Formation of Reform League, a mainly working class organisation pledged to fight for universal handoff suffrage.
1866: Finical crisis. Speculation leads to the collapse of Overend and Gurney, a leading London finical house.
1866: Reform Bill brought in by Lord John Russell's governments (Liberal). Introduced in commons by Gladstone. Proposed to extent the vote to £14 county and £7 borough householders, lodgers paying £10 a year rent, men with £50 savings and a redistribution of some seats. Bill defeated by a combination of Conservatives and some Liberals Government falls. On 23rd July a League rally in Hyde Park, London, for out of hand and a mob tore down some railings. Violence continued for a coupe days before it was contained and controlled by police and troops. Hyde Park riots were last straw that convinced Derby and Disraeli to take up the cause of reform.
1866-67: Cholera epidemic. 14,000 people died.
March 1867: Reform Bill brought in by the Earl of Derby (Conservative) Introduced in Commons by Disraeli, who accepts a range of radical amendments. Bill accepted by parliament and becomes law. In the boroughs there was to be a household suffrage, provided the male householder had lived in the property for 2 years and paid rates separately from rent. University graduates, members of the professions and those with savings of more than £50 were to be given extra votes.(Conservatives believed it would help to balance out the increase in working-class electors. Radical Liberals attacked it as being a 'fancy franchise'.)
Reform Act of 1867:
Franchise extended in the boroughs to men:
- Owning or occupying houses provided they paid rates and had lived there for at least 1 year.
- Living as lodgers in property worth at least £10 a year, provided they had been living there for at least 1 year.
Franchise extended in the counties to men:
- Owning, or leasing, land worth t least £5 a year.
- Occupying land with a rateable value of at least £12 a year, providing they had paid the relevant rates.
Distribution of seats:
- 45 seats were removed from boroughs with under 100,000 inhabitants.
- 25 seats were given to the counties
- 20 seats were given to new boroughs
- 6 boroughs were given an extra seat.
- In 1866, approx 1,400,000 men could vote. The act gave the vote to further 1,120,000 and thus theelectorate almost doubled - from 1/5 to 1/3 men could vote. 830,000 voters added to the electoral registers. Working class for first time, dominated the borough electorate.
- In counties, the electorate increased by about 45% meaning that the county consistencies remained largely middle class.
1870: Elementary Education Act, which created a system of school boards to provide basic state education to feel gaps left by the voluntary system. Schools for children aged 5-13 and aimed to provide basic literacy and numeracy for their pupils. 1880 Education made compulsory and in 1891 made free.
1872: Ballot Act. Voting in general elections and by elections becomes secret.
1883: The Corrupt and Illegal Practices Prevention Act. Wipes out the more serve forms of bribery & coercion.
Third Reform Act: TWO SMALLER ACTS
1884: The Representation of the People Act 1884 (The Franchise Act). The counties are given household representation. Laid down the maximum sum of the money that could be paid out in election expenses, calculated according to the size of the constituency and the number of voters, and outlawed the practice of one party booking up in advance of available means of transport to the polls. Fines and/or imprisionment would result if a politician or his agents were found guilty of corrupt practices and the MP so elected would forfeit his seat.
1885: The Redistribution of Seats Act. Seats are redistributed more sensibly to reflect the population disruption. London's were increased from 22 to 55. Cornwall was represented by 7 MPS instead of the original 44. Lancashire gained 15 new seats. The West Riding of Yorkshire gained 13 seats. Only 24 boroughs remained.
1834: Tamworth Manifesto, sets out Robert Peel's vision for the future Conservative Party. What was so new about this was a politician appealing to elects. Gentlemen may explain their position to fellow MP's, but to go beyond Westminster was unheard of. Peel went beyond this and it was released to the press and published in the newspapers, so reached a far wider audience than his own constituents. In doing so he was quite clearly setting out his view of conservatism and his vision of what the principles of a new Conservative Party should be. Peel becomes PM in December.
February 1835: Lichfield House compact in 1835 between the Whigs, let by Lord John Russell, and a group of Irish MPs, led by Daniel O'Connell, whereby the Whigs could depend on Irish support in the commons in return for promising to consider some reforming legislation for Ireland. Achieved its objective, Lord Melbourne and the Whigs were returned to government.
1835: Municipal Operations Act. Borough operations, the body of people responsible for running the boroughs, to be elected annually. Establishment of local political clubs and associations i.e. carlton club.
1836: Founding of Reform Club: Formed by Whigs and middle-class radicals toe encourage voter registration and dissemination of Whig/Liberal propaganda.
1841: General election
Last 2 years of the Whig ministry under Melbourne's ministry were particularly troublesome:
- The country was going through a severe economic depression.
- The economic depression led to sever social discontent, m*** poverty and enormous pressure on the poor law and demands for relief escalated.
- Charism revived as a result of escalating social and economic problems.
- The Anti-Corn Law Leauge, founded in Manchester in 1838, pressed for the abolition of the Corn Laws as a solution to both economic and social problems - economic, because it would encourage free trade; social, because it would reduce the price of bread.
-Financial crisis finally brought matters to a head. Declining revenues and a budget deficit of £6 million led, on 4th June 1841, to a conservative motion of 'No Confidence' in the government being won by a single vote. Melbourne and Whig gove resigned.
- Some radicals, weary with the Whigs turned to conservatives but most focused on single issues, such *** repeal of corn laws.
- The attempted Whig manoeuvre to break this potential Radical-Tory alliance, by ending the sliding scale of suites on imported corn and replacing it with a fixed duty, did not impress.
- Feargus O'Connor, banking on the appeal of Tory Criticism of the new Poor law, urged Chartist supporters to vote for conservative candidates.
- Peel and conservatives were returned with a majority of nearly 80 seats.
1846: Repeal of the Corn Laws: Peel Conservative Party splits between Peelites, who favoured repeal, and the majority, who did not.
1850: Death of Peel. Peelites absorbed into the emerging liberal party under, first lord Abberdeen (himself a Peelite) and then Lord Palmerston.
1867: Parliamentary Reform Act, Size of the electorate almost doubled to include most of the 'respectable' working class,
1867: Conservative National Union founded. Aimed at uniting all existing Conservative Working Men's Clubs were under one umbrella organisation.
1867: Birmingham Education League founded. Founded by Joseph Chamberlain and Jesse Collings to press for universal, secular education.
1868: General election: Liberal victory.
1869: National Education League founded. Joseph Chamberlain and other radicals press for a system of national, secular education.
1870: Conservative Central Office established in London. John Gorst employed as party manager.
1870: Education Act. Increases grant to Anglican Church schools and established secular school boards to provide schools in areas where no schools previously existed.
1871:Trade Union Act. Trade unions given legal status and the right to strike.
1871: Criminal Law Amendment Act. Severe penalties for picketing.
1874: General election, Conservative victory.
1877: National Federation at Liberal Associations. Founded by Joseph Chamberlain, inBirmingham, with the aim of providing an umbrella organisation and co-ordinating body for all the local Liberal organisation and pressuring government to accept their polices.
1879-80: Midlothian Campaign. Gladstone attacks Disraeli's imperial policy as being 'immoral' and takes issues directly to his electors.
1880: General election: Liberal Victory.
1883: Primrose League founded. Admitted men and women in an hierarchical membership shame and aimed to promote Conservatism and Conservative candidates.