The Great Reform Act

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What percentage of the population could vote before 1832?
Less that 13% - less in Ireland and Scotland
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What was the difference between Rotten boroughs and Pocket boroughs?
Rotten: few inhabitants, pocket: controlled by rich/influential men (job dependency?)
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What was common at elections?
Bribery
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What did multiple voting qualifications mean?
That some people had multiple votes
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What could graduates of Oxford and Cambridge do?
Vote for the MPs of Oxford and Cambridge
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Which part of the country was more heavily represented?
the South
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Name 2 influential ideas from overseas regarding reform
America - 'no taxation without representation - showed weakness in British system. France - followed America's ideas - mass of country should have more influence than nobles
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How did Pitt try to reform parliament?
He tried to buy 36 boroughs and redistribute the seats. It was defeated
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Give 3 reasons why calls for the reform of Parliament did not succeed between 1780 and 1830
Aims of different groups varied, supporters of change seen as eccentric, reform often accompanied by other aims, French Revolution - "Would any man repair his house in the hurricane season?" (Edmund Burke), ownership of boroughs seen as property
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Give 3 reasons why the existing system was seen by many to work well
Most believed wealthy people would choose good MPs, Parliament didn't make important bills often, few examples of democracy in history (seen as dangerous)
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Who had supported reform in 1780?
The most prominent Whigs
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Why had Fox urged reform?
To prevent a build up of discontent
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What did the Whigs see reform as?
essential to prevent what happened in France happening in Britain
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Who admired the ideology of the American Revolution?
The younger Whigs
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When was the Society of the Friends of the People formed and what did it want?
1792 - wanted annual parliaments and equal representation
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Why did Fox disagree with the Society of the Friends of the People?
He thought it would split the party
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Give 2 reasons why the Whigs did not vigorously promote Parliamentary reform
It associated them with the French Revolution, it brought the Whigs close to splitting
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What did the Whigs focus on when they were in power? (2)
The abolition of the slave trade and concessions for Catholics
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When did Pitt oppose change?
When suggestions of modest change failed
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What convinced the Tories that it wasn't the right time for major constitutional change?
The radical changes in France
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Why was the Tory party split in 1829?
"Ultra Tories" opposed Catholic Emancipation but Peel backed it
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Give 3 reasons why there was such a demand for reform of Parliament, 1828-30
Extent of corruption in some boroughs was brought to light, passing of Catholic Emancipation opened the way for more change, under-representation of industrial cities, new parliament for new Britain?, middle class needed representation
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When was the Birmingham Political Union founded by a middle class banker?
1829
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Why was it so terrible that Birmingham was unrepresented in Parliament?
It was the third largest town in England
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How many members did the BPU have in 1831?
144,000
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Name 2 things that the BPU wanted
More frequent general elections, payment of MPs, the right for all men who paid taxes to vote, end of property qualifications
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What gave the Whigs their chance?
The Tory split
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Who told the King there was a "universal feeling" for reform which couldn't be ignored?
Grey - the Whig leader
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By which year was there much more support for reform, due to build up of momentum for changed, encouraged by changes in domestic and foreign policy, & events in France?
1830
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Where had unrest mainly been after the Napoleonic wars, and where did it now move to?
urban and industrial areas, moved to the rural areas
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Who did workers send letters to during the Swing Riots and what did they demand?
Letters sent to magistrates, churchmen and wealthy landowners - demanded wage rises, abolition of tithes and the destruction of Threshing machines. Some made direct & personal threats
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How many people were arrested?
2000
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What did the MPs think as a result of the Swing Riots?
Riots showed the danger associated with popular unrest; MPs wanted to stop delaying the Reform Bill
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When were the Bristol Riots?
1831
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How many people attacked the gaol and Mansion house before burning down the Bishops Palace?
500-600
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Why did the troops commander not interfere at first?
He didn't want to cause disturbance/loss of life
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How long did the Bristol Riots last?
3 days
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Where else was there unrest in 1831?
Nottingham
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What did the crowd burn down before the soldiers could regain control?
the castle
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Give 2 reasons why the riots could be considered as not very serious
large numbers not involved, little link between middle class political organisations and urban violence, few riots spread to other areas
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Give 3 reasons why the riots could be regarded as serious
Alarmed the King and landowners - could see parallels to France. Some nobility built defenses around their homes, landowners feared better equipped middle class might join them, showed the army couldn't always be relied upon
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In which year was the reform bill given to Parliament and rejected?
1831
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What happened to the second reform bill in 1831?
It passed through the House of Commons but was rejected by the House of Lords
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What happens to enable the Lords to pass the 3rd Reform Bill?
They amend it heavily and the King urges Wellington to drop his opposition
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Name 3 elements of change in the Reform Bill
The electorate increased by almost 65%, some seats were redistributed to large towns and cities of the North and other Industrial areas, 145 borough seats were abolished
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Name 3 elements of continuity in the Reform Bill
The majority of the working class were still excluded from voting, Parliament continued to be dominated by the landed classes (75% of elected MPs in 1832 were landowners), no secret ballot, still unequal/imbalanced representation
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Who gained from the Reform Bill?
Middle classes (more solidly represented in parliament and many had the vote), House of Commons (their power/dominance affirmed)
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Who suffered from the Reform Bill?
House of Lords (forced to back down), Working class (sill unrepresented and unable to vote)
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

What was the difference between Rotten boroughs and Pocket boroughs?

Back

Rotten: few inhabitants, pocket: controlled by rich/influential men (job dependency?)

Card 3

Front

What was common at elections?

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

What did multiple voting qualifications mean?

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

What could graduates of Oxford and Cambridge do?

Back

Preview of the front of card 5
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