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

To what extent was the second Reform Act passed to "extinguish Gladstone and co"?

Extracts from this document...


To what extent was the second reform act passed to ?extinguish Gladstone and co? The motivation behind the passing of the 1867 reform act by the Conservative party is often an area of historical debate. Throughout the period from 1865-67, Disraeli?s nature of opportunism and aims of humiliating Gladstone whilst benefiting the Conservative party never really altered, if anything these aims grew easier to achieve with the failure of the 1866 Liberal bill and the death of Palmerston in 1865. The issue of extinguishing ?Gladstone and co? would very much involve the collapse of the liberal party or at worst for the Conservatives, the humiliation of Gladstone. Most certainly the passing of the 1867 reform bill humiliated the liberals incredibly, but was the reform bill passed to achieve this? Historians such as Alderman argue that ?Disraeli?s attitude during the reform crisis was purely opportunistic in order to greatly benefit the Conservative party ?and of course Disraeli himself. To truly measure whether Disraeli wanted to ?extinguish Gladstone and co?, we must look at the details of the reform bill itself, but most importantly consider the other factors that may have played a significant role in the passing of the reform bill. ...read more.


It?s most certainly true that Disraeli during this period acted on opportunism as the Liberals were so badly split the opportunity of siding with the Adullamites was there to be taken, and in no manner did Disraeli plan to ?extinguish Gladstone and co? in this period. However, it cannot be overlooked that Disraeli may have had this motive but not through the period of parliamentary reform, Disraeli was in fact much more interested in gaining political power for the Conservatives. The public pressure aspect can be seen as minimal in the passing of the reform act. The key points being that the replacement of Russell by Derby in 1866 was followed by an increase in public interest and pressure in the form of demonstrations and meetings. In July disturbances occurred at the famous Hyde Park, during the course of which a 1,400 yard stretch of railings was pulled down and destroyed. This was less violent than the events in Bristol and Nottingham in 1831. But, as with the First reform act, the threat of violence has been seen as a significant factor in forcing the pace of history, essentially history was repeating itself. Trevelyan agrees, referring to the solidarity between the middle and the working classes which characterized the agitation in the country over which bright presided in the autumn. ...read more.


In some aspects Walton is correct but the key fundamental point is missed. Granted the population rise was minor, but it still was a underlying ?background? issue that needed solving. Disraeli may not have passed the act due to this rise in inhabitants but it certainly put reform on alert and arguably was a catalyst for Disraeli wanting political and party gain. Overall, although there were several factors that arguably played a part, the strong desire to substantially benefit the Conservatives after being out of power for 20 years reflect the reason for Disraeli passing the 1867 parliamentary reform act. The drive for power was essentially always on Disraeli?s mind, if exploiting the liberals meant a chance of power, it was a certainty Disraeli would do what was necessary. Fundamentally, Disraeli ended up humiliating the liberals, not out of pure desire, but as an extra bonus for wanting to achieve power. Although, Seaman argues that ?Disraeli wasn?t in a desperate hurry for power?, however this is absolutely untrue. Disraeli unremarkably wanted power, hence the siding with the Adullamites. Had Disraeli not wanted power, he wouldn?t of taken a momentous risk of not only passing the bill in 1867, but more intriguingly actually making the bill extremely radical enough to gain support from most of the electorate. It is clear that Disraeli had only one aim in mind: to gain a majority government with his party. ...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. Marked by a teacher

    Why did Disraeli pass the 1867 Second Reform Act?

    3 star(s)

    with the question of Reform he took it upon himself to create and push a Bill through personally. To have an Act passed in the Houses of Parliament is seen as a political achievement, so by passing the act he was showing himself to be a successful Tory MP and

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

    Other candidates would use threats. Considering that most candidates were wealthy landowners they might warn tenants that they could be evicted if they did not vote for him or for his candidate. Sometimes people such as shopkeepers, trades people, solicitors and doctors were threatened with an organised boycott of their

  1. Why was the reform act of 1832 passed?

    Although his successor, William IV was not very enthusiastic he was prepared to go along with some changes. A general election also had to take place and reformers were delighted with this and so reform candidates did well meaning that Wellington was thrown out and a Whig government came to power.

  2. "A Leap in the Dark"? Was Lord Derby's Judgement of the second reform act ...

    opposed reform and the more radical Liberals favoured it; Disraeli wanted to exploit this weakness and hope to strengthen the Reform Bill's support within the Commons. It was in fact the more radical Liberals which ensured the bills passing as they helped in the amendments made to it which became

  1. To what extent was Disraeli personally committed to social reform

    John Vincent also questions the interpretation of The Young England novels; stating that he does not see social compassion or anger in the books but detachment and above all irony. To further question Disraeli's stance on social reform and the class divide Lord Derby noted his "odd dislike of lower-class men"4.

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

    On the collapse of Goderich's ministry11, the King looked to the Protestant Tory Wellington to form a strong government. On doing so, Wellington dismissed the Canningites in government12, yet many, including Grey, saw the value of united opposition against the Ultra Tory government.

  1. Why did the campaign for Parliamentary Reform fail to achieve anything in the Period ...

    were becoming better such as the increased circulation of newspapers and better road, rail and canal systems meant news traveled faster and with the increasing adult literacy rates debate was inevitable. This increase in debates and education throughout the early 1780's led amplified the awareness of the middle class to

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

    * 1923 Bastardy Act ? increased maintenance payments to single mothers * 1925 Guardianship of Infants Act ? Gave women the same custody rights as fathers. * 1925 Widows, Orphans and Old Age Contributory Pensions Act ? provided a pension for widows of insured men * 1928 Equal Franchise Act

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