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By 1928 All The Essentials Of Democracy Had Been Achieved. Discuss

2157 words - 9 pages

"By 1928 all the essentials of Democracy had been achieved. Discuss"Between 1867 and 1928 there was significant progress in the search for a more democratic Britain and although the electoral system was not wholly perfect, the essentials of democracy had been achieved. There were many undemocratic features in the 1850's which led to pressure mounting for reform such as overt voting, not all adult men had the vote; constituencies were very uneven. There was a lack of progress between 1850 and the 1860's. All that was achieved was the absolution of property qualifications for MP's. The development of the parliamentary system since 1867 had been he subject of four main themes: the measured achievement of universal adult suffrage; the elimination of corruption and the control of electoral expenditure; the extension of the constituencies and the limitation of the powers of House of Lords. Several acts were introduced which accomplished these themes such as the Second Reform Act of 1867 which extended the franchise and redistributed parliamentary seats more fairly. The Ballot Act of 1872 and the Corrupt and Illegal Practices Act of 1883 were crucial in the development of democracy. The Representation of the People Act 1884 further extended democracy by improving the franchise and also the Redistribution of Seats Act of 1885 made the constituencies more equal. The Parliament Act of 1911 improved democracy sufficiently by reducing the power of the House of Lords and also the introduction of payment for MP's allowed more working class men to participate in politics. More importantly in 1918 in the Representation of the People Act it allowed all men over 21 years and woman over 30 to vote. This was a great achievement for women's suffrage. In 1918 the Parliament (Qualification of Women) Act also promoted democracy by allowing women to stand for election.Women finally attained equal voting rights by the Equal Franchise Act in 1928 and British democracy was strengthened considerably.In 1866 there were around only 1.4 million voters, about one in five men in the population. There was growing pressure for reform from many pressure groups such as London Working Men's Association and the Reform League. Pre 1866, Parliamentary Reform was associated with the Liberals and traditionally the Tories were seen as the arch opponents of reform so it was with a degree of surprise that Derby's administration introduced reform bill which in considerably amended form Disraeli then took over in the new Conservative government and he introduced the 1866 Reform Act Bill. However many believed Disraeli introduced these reforms because;"Political advantage and party expediency played a greater part than abstract notions of representations" (Derry)In Parliament some of the cabinet were against reform as they believed it would affect them in a negative fashion. However more were in support of Disraeli. Therefore the Second Reform Act was introduced and it increased the electorate...

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