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

What led to the reform of 1867?

Extracts from this document...


What led to the reform of 1867? Roxanne Slevin In 1865, Britain was in need of reform. There were two parties; the Whigs and the Tories, they were very biased towards the needs of the upper classes and often laisse-faire. At this time, Britain was at its height; it was the most powerful, wealthy and industrialised country in the world. It had the largest empire and Britain itself had a population of 30 million. The House of Lords had the most power, but the queen also dominated political scenes and chose each prime minister. There was no education for the poor, only a few voluntary schools that were run by religious groups and no public health system. In addition, only rich men and middle class were allowed to vote over the age of 21, this also meant that there were no rights for workers, and only open voting existed. All this created many factors that would inevitably lead to the reform in 1867, the question is was it social and economic or political factors that caused this change? ...read more.


These were skilled workers earning more money, and so it was concerning for the government. Also linking to the population is that most workers lived in towns, few of them had the right to vote and large cities still had only one or two MPs - this means that they were largely un-represented. On the other hand, many believe it was political forces that caused the reform in 1867, for instance - the radicals. Radicals pressurised the government from not only the outside but the inside to. John Bright was an MP of Birmingham who travelled across the country to find men who will stand up for their rights. It was not unusual for over 100,000 men to turn up to a demonstration. John Bright said in a speech, "Palaces, Baronial castles, great cause, stately mansions do not make up the nation, the nation in every country dwells in a cottage," 1858. Bright put forward many convincing arguments to the government. It could be suggested that this then led to Gillseppe Garibaldi. ...read more.


With hindsight, it is possible to see how these factors forced the government to change due to the impact in had on the majority of the nation. Many would have died of starvation due to the civil war, especially with the population increasing rapidly, and the cotton industry declining. This desperation was demonstrated in trade unions, as even the middle class started to join them. It is possible that without these factors that the government would not have had the politicians, such as Disraeli and Gladstone, implementing these reforms into the British legal system. People would not have been creating Radical groups and there would have been no need for Garibaldi to influence people. It is suggested that whomever was in power at the time, that they would have changed do to the fear of a revolution, and because the prime minister, Lord Palmerston, died in 1865, who was persistently hostile to any electoral reforms. It was therefore up to the new government to introduce these changes, hence the Reform Act of 1867. ...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. Resistance to slavery.

    The National Assembly issued the Declaration of Rights of Man that stated that 'men are born free and equal in rights'. The watchwords of France's new revolutionary leaders were 'Liberty! Equality! And Fraternity! These words and the French revolution in general had a profound effect on the Haitian Revolution.

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

    Where; 'Mr Hurst held out so long that it was feared blood would be shed, the doors were shut until the demands were granted, no lights were allowed and the iron railings that surrounded the monuments were torn up'. The result of the meeting was an agreement by the vicar

  1. What impact did the Reform Acts of 1867 and 1884 have on the political ...

    The Radicals were also aware of the contradictions between the franchise in the boroughs and in the counties that had been heightened by the 1867 Reform Act. In parliament Joseph Chamberlain berated those who thought that gibing the franchise to agricultural workers would destroy agricultural interests.

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

    League, it could be argued hat the Conservatives were merely bowing to popular pressure. If a reform bill had not been introduced, there would have been danger of growing political unrest and revolutionary activities. The ability of the Conservative Party, in particular Disraeli, to pass the Reform Bill surprised many

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