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

Growth of Democracy

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

What factors influenced the extension of the franchise up to 1918? In the 1850s, the people of Britain had many problems and were very dissatisfied. The total population at the time was twenty-two and a quarter million. There was also rapid social and economical change. People had moved from the rural areas to the more urban areas of the country to work in the new industrial towns which were growing up. Since these towns had to accommodate the increasing numbers of people, housing was thrown up quickly and cheaply and this led to sanitation problems and the spread of disease. People had very low life expectancy due to poor living and working conditions. People, especially the working classes were discontented and were looking for reform but they had no voice in politics and therefore no way to express themselves politically because they did not have the right to vote. Extension of the franchise would mean giving the vote to all adults in Britain, regardless of gender and social status. This however would take a number of decades, from 1832 until 1918 or even 1928. There were four major Reform Acts between 1832 and 1918. ...read more.

Middle

New political ideas such as democracy (the right to govern and rule yourself and liberalism (the right to express opinions freely) had emerged in Europe and as Britain had supported these ideas in Italy with unification, she could not deny her people their rights. There had also been revolutions in France. Some feared this might happen in Britain and so it hindered reform at first. Later others were keen to grant reform to avoid violence. Groups inside Britain were also putting pressure on the government for more change. These groups included trade unions, the labour party and suffrage groups. The working class were becoming more educated and respectable and so politicians no longer saw them as an unruly mob and felt they were more deserving of the vote. The Second Reform Act, 1867, increased the electorate by 1 million voters. Now one in three men could vote. However the right to vote still depended on property ownership and the value of the property owned. Nevertheless, the 1867 Reform Act was an important step towards democracy. The old belief that the working classes were an unthinking mob was ending. ...read more.

Conclusion

This was a very significant step to democracy. The electorate had trebled, from roughly seven million to twenty-one million. 8.5 million Women over thirty were given the vote. The industrial working class had became, for the first time, the majority in a mass electorate, this was to play a part in a changed political identity, as it helped the labour party to grow. In 1928 there was further franchise reform as all women were given the vote on equal terms to men. In conclusion, many factors influenced the extension of the franchise up to 1918. There was a growth in democracy in Britain for many reasons Economic change caused by the Industrial and Agricultural revolutions in Britain meant that different places especially in the North and Midlands of England had to be represented. This was the first thing to bring change. Everyone wanted a say in government. The people wanted social change to improve living and working conditions but they needed a voice in parliament first. Better communication and improved education meant a greater interest in democracy. The great reform act was only a start - other acts would bring more change and eventually Britain would become a democracy. The impacts of world war one sped up change even more and helped further extend the franchise to women. ...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 Other Historical Periods 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 Other Historical Periods essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Extended Essay: Bismarck and The Unification of Germany

    5 star(s)

    For many years, there has been historical debate over the significance of the creation of the Bund; some historians, AJP Taylor for example, take the view that the Bund was of little importance as it was under permanent Austrian control and as Austria was extremely anti-unification, would block any moves towards unification.

  2. How successfully did the Labour governments of 1945-51 solve the social problems of the ...

    Unemployment in the North East coastal regions had been running at 38% in 1938, but by June 1951 this had been reduced to just 1.5%. Though the resumption of global trade after the war had much to do with this, Jefferys argues that the "role of ministerial policy" must not

  1. The First English Civil War

    Avoiding the barrier of the Mendips, they moved round via Frome to the Avon. But Waller, thus cut off from London and threatened with investment, acted with great skill. Some days of manoeuvres and skirmishing followed, after which Hertford and Hopton found themselves on the north side of Bath, facing Waller's entrenched position on the top of Lansdown Hill.

  2. Julius Caesars reform

    same teacher as Cicero - Through J.C.Fullers JULIUS CAESAR: man, soldier and tyrant, he said that at young age Caesar was educated by M. Antonius Gnipho. Also, describe him as being "a free-born native Gaul, whom Suetonius describes as a man of considerable learning, well read in Greek and Latin and of an obliging and agreeable temper.'

  1. Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798

    led to the increased tension between states rights advocates and strong central government advocates. The issue of legislation review power, which was based on the differing views of states rights supporters and strong central government supporters, was partially resolved later during the Supreme Court case of Marbury v.

  2. HISTORY: MEDIEVAL WOMEN

    The medieval Church disapproved of women as the Church blamed all women for the temptations of Adam. They believed that without the seduction and temptation of women then would remain pure. This is best summed up by the views of an 11th century cardinal named Peter Damien who is quoted as saying, "Women are: Satan's bait, poison for men's souls...

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