• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Events inside rather than outside Parliament explain why the reform Act was passed - To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement?

Extracts from this document...


Events inside rather than outside Parliament explain why the reform Act was passed. To what extent do u agree or disagree with this statement? There are many factors which explain why the Parliamentary reform Act 1832 was passed. Certain of these factors were due to events inside the Houses of Parliament, such as the resistance from the Lords, and others were results of events outside of Parliament for example the 1832 riots. The final act was passed as a combination of all events together. I would consider that the most important reason why the Reform Act was passed was because of Lord Grey's attitude towards reform. Lord Grey genuinely believed that the system needed modernising and so used all the powers he had within his Prime Ministerial role, including calling an election to act as a referendum and pushed the bill through until it was legitimised. He aimed to improve the system on a long-term basis. Although Grey was pro reformation and the public in the early 1830s were aware of this, they were also aware that the Government had previously bowed to pressure. ...read more.


Thomas Attwood established a pressure group to agitate the Government into reforming the electoral system. Attwood was successful in promoting his views through peaceful methods and caused short term but easily solved pressurising problems against the government. Although Attwood was not revolutionary or violent, Grey knew that if he neglected Attwood's protests then they could develop into uncontrollable violent outbursts. Attwood's main support was from university students and middle class citizens who felt repressed by being disenfranchised. Grey wanted to maintain the support of the middle classes and believed in the divide and rule theory. By separating the middle classes from the working classes, via the vote, he would split opposition and ultimately prevent Britain from revolution. Grey had a constant fear of a British revolution, provoked by the recent French revolution. Outside of Parliament in South Eastern agrarian areas, there were serious riots. In the summer of 1830 disenfranchised villagers protested against the unrepresentative electoral system. The unrest such as the destruction of threshing-machines and the burning of corn, was not only a protest against being disenfranchised but also a political expression of hatred towards tithes and the administration of the Poor Law. ...read more.


The greatest event inside Parliament to contribute to the legitimising of the Bill was the threat of replacement imposed upon the House of Lords. The Lords refused to pass the Bill because they were of a reactionary Tory majority and believed that the reform act would lead to liberals from the middle classes overthrowing the Aristocratic Peers. The Lords had an ultimate veto against the Bill and so Grey threatened to replace the whole chamber with new peers when the Lords used their veto. The Lords were reluctant to pass the bill but preferred the prospect of them passing the bill and keeping their membership of the House of Lords. After the Lords passed the bill, William IV refused. Although he was regarded as more Liberal than the previous Monarch George IV, William was still too reactionary to give Royal consent. In desperation to pass the Bill Grey resigned this was an internal protest demanding for reformation of the electoral system. The most influencing character was Grey himself, Prime Minister. All the events he encountered inside Parliament were attempts to pass an act to reform the electoral system. Had Grey not had the support of the public outside Parliament he would not have been successful with his campaign inside Parliament. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level British History: Monarchy & Politics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level British History: Monarchy & Politics essays

  1. Why was The Great Reform Act passed in 1832 ?

    Overall the Luddites and Swing Rioters achieved very little in the long run, only slowing down the introduction of machines in some areas and counties from the south. Their acts of vandalism were not unknown in the days before the Industrial Revolution but the main reason for these attacks had

  2. How successful was the Reform Act in rectifying defects in the political system?

    pressure to spur on reform as much as the events in November 1831. The Bristol riots occurred after the House of Lords rejected the second reform bill, the riots lasted for at least three days and houses were looted and destroyed; four men were also hanged for leading the riot.

  1. Why was the reform act of 1832 passed?

    It meant that Catholics could now sit in parliament. The result was that it gave reformers more hope than ever before and that many Tories were outraged with Wellington and this split the party. It wasn't however just the above as a great stroke of luck hit for the reformers in June 1830 when George IV died as he was against reform.

  2. Why was the first Great Reform Act passed in 1832 and not before?

    Parliament believed that revolution was imminent, so they realised that a full measure of reform must be passed in order to satisfy public opinion. Once Wellington also confessed defeat on the issue of Reform, Parliamentary opposition collapsed. On the 4th June, all opposition to Reform melted and the battle for reform was over.

  1. To what extent was the Henrican Reformation imposed from 'above'?

    Parliament was not only imposing its will on them, but it doing it from so great a distance that the people felt that they had no way of shaping it. This feeling of isolation contributes to Scarisbrick's argument that 'most men and women did not want the Reformation and most

  2. Why was the Reform Act passed in 1832?

    In 1828, banker Thomas Attwood founded Birmingham Political Union, it was a campagne for reform by organising public meetings and petitions. Figures went up from 15000 to 25000 and so this created much pressure on parliament for reform. They used the press, newspapers such as the Leeds Mercury, Manchester Guadian,

  1. How far & to what extent was Louis responsible for the turn of events ...

    Louis, by his high handedness had opened up a can of worms. Riots and demonstrations happened all over Paris during his attempts to force the new taxation measures through. Parlements were argued to be defending the rights of the people against the despotism of the king.

  2. "Earl Grey was no fan of electoral reform." Why then, did his administration go ...

    Earl Grey feared that unless reform was produced quickly a similar situation would arise in Britain. The American Revolution also highlighted a need for change. Britain's repressive governing style had led to the loss of its American colonies. High taxes and constant repression led to America declaring independence and in

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work