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

Public pressure was one of several factors which helped to bring about the 2nd reform act, other factors including changing attitude to reform by politicians and political parties, and party political manoeuvres.

Extracts from this document...


How important was public pressure in bringing about the 2nd reform act? Public pressure was one of several factors which helped to bring about the 2nd reform act, other factors including changing attitude to reform by politicians and political parties, and party political manoeuvres. After the passing of the 1832 reform act, people, including the man who passed it, Lord John Russell, thought that was the end of it, but several things changed leading to the need for further reform. The population in 1861 had risen to 29 million, and the adult male population of England and Wales had risen to over five million, and yet of those, only a fraction over a million had the vote, the vast majority of the working class was still voteless. People had continued to move into the ever expanding industrial areas, but there had been no corresponding change in constituencies and no new ones creates, so huge industrial cities, with very large population, were largely and unexplainably underrepresented, an extension of the franchise was needed. Radical John Bright was one of the most influential figures in helping to bring about the 2nd reform act through manipulating public pressure. ...read more.


The bill was rejected and the Liberal Prime Minister, Russell, resigned from office, and the conservatives formed a minority government under Derby, with Disraeli as leader in the Commons and Chancellor of the Exchequer. In response to this, the Reform League decided to hold a national demonstration of the 23rd July. Because of the expected size of the meeting it was to be held in Hyde Park. Five days before the demonstration, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner informed the League that this meeting was prohibited; the League regarded this prohibition as an illegal interference with their lawful right to assembly. The officials of the League, on the day, addressed the crowd, the mob left behind after the speeches began to skirmish with the police officers, resulting in disorder and riots with and park railings giving way, this continued for two days and troops had to be called in. The League leaders did not desire this kind of violent action, they wanted to achieve their aims through legal means, but this performance nonetheless showed the average working class man's anger at being denied reform. In 1866 there was a short sharp economic crisis and several companies went bankrupt and there was widespread unemployment, bread became expensive following the poor harvest of 1865 and there was a sudden cholera epidemic which killed around 8000 people in London alone. ...read more.


originally intended, Disraeli had taken a gamble in passing the bill and the working class had ended up with more than they had originally bargained for. Public pressure, via the demonstrations of The Reform League, The Reform Union, and radical John bright, all played a vital part in bringing about the 2nd reform act. Other influences may have played a part too, the visit of Giuseppe Garibaldi, a man who played an instrumental role in the unification of Italy, publicised the idea of reform and his admirers in fact actually formed the Reform League. Politicians had begun to realize that some sort of reform was inevitable, Gladstone tried and failed to introduce some in 1866 due to political manoeuvres in opposing parties and his own. But the conservatives realized that they had a real change to gain power and a standing in the government, and although they originally had a fear of reform, the 2nd reform act was passed, the economic state perhaps acting as a catalyst again. But to the eventual dismay of Disraeli and the conservatives, due to the resignation of key Conservatives and Liberal amendments, Disraeli ended up with a Reform Bill which was far more drastic then he had ever originally planned to install. ...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. Free essay

    how far did the 1832 Reform Act rectify the defects of the original political ...

    Their aim was to organise and carry out a march to London to hand over a petition to the Prince Regent. The people's demands was dominated by the wish for parliamentary reform and also they wanted the Corn Law to be abolished as people couldn't afford the high prices for wheat.

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

    The uprising threat of revolution was also a major motivation for the government to pass the Reform Act. The Peterloo Massacre, originally was meant to be a meeting but consequently turned in to a riot, striving for radical parliamentary reform and the repeal of the Corn Laws, eleven people were killed and over 400 people were injured.

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

    to be that the people wanted the creation of a parliament that would truly represent all the people. Their anger was increased by the fact that in the years between 1811 to 1820 wages were low and harvests were bad.

  2. The National Government and Political Extremism

    Some of the latter resulted in violent confrontations with the police. The CPGB was also active disrupting meetings and marches held by the British Union of Fascists and resulting in violence. The Communists Party newspaper, The Daily Worker, had a daily circulation of 80,000 copies, whilst the Left Book Club had 50,000 members by 1939.

  1. How significant was the role of individuals in the changing for the poor between ...

    a utilitarian thus sharing Bentham's view on ensuring the greatest happiness for as many as possible. He was a social reformer and tried to improve public health in Britain, however his aim in this was to make poor relief cheaper for the government therefore lowering taxes and ultimately benefiting his pocket.

  2. Why did the Tories pass the Reform Bill in 1867?

    The split between the Liberals, which had led to the defeat of their own proposal the year before, persisted into 1867. When Gladstone attempted to defeat the Bill, at its second reading, forty-five Liberals supported the Conservatives and a further twenty-eight abstained from voting.

  1. How far was popular pressure the most important reason for the passing of the ...

    Moreover the public were disappointed as Gladstone seemed to have promised reform as a result there was an increase in pressure for reform when the Derby/Disraeli government came into power. Disraeli had always wanted a sort of democracy ? an alliance between the aristocracy and the urban workers.

  2. The changing position of women and the suffrage question. Revision notes

    * It was not democratic in structure (see disputes) * Strategy * NUWSS * Barbara Bodichon submitted a petition to Parliament for women?s votes * Petitions, lobbying MPs and supporting those who supported votes for women * Wrote letters, pamphlets etc. * Peaceful marches * E.g. Women?s suffrage pilgrimage.

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