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

Why did the Tories pass the Reform Bill in 1867?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Why did the Tories pass the Reform Bill in 1867? The 1867 Reform Act was the second major attempt to reform Britain?s electoral process ? the first being the 1832 Reform Act. There had been moves towards electoral reform in the early 1860?s via Lord John Russell. However, his attempts were thwarted by Britain?s most powerful politician of the time and Prime Minister ? Lord Palmerston, who was against any form of change. The death of Palmerston in 1865 led to Russell becoming Prime Minister and the main obstacle in electoral reform being removed. Shortly after, William Gladstone; a leading politician in the Liberal party stated in a speech to his constituency, that the death of the Prime Minister had led to his party being ?unmuzzled?. Russell wanted to give the vote to ?respectable working men? but would have excluded unskilled workers and the poor. To this ends, the middle class would still have had the major clout in an election. There were those who favoured his bill as the right move ahead. However, naturally the Conservative Party opposed the Bill. Right-wing Liberals, led by Robert Lowe, also opposed it. ...read more.

Middle

The support of the working-class towards the ?democratic? North in the Civil War persuaded the government that they had a ?moral conscience? and were not the unruly mob they had once thought and that now they had shown they deserved the right to vote. The Reform union and the Reform League further supported this theory. The pro-reform groups had similar aims but differed in their category of support. The Reform League was mainly a working-class organisation, which wanted universal manhood suffrage. On the other hand, the Reform Union was a mainly middle-class organisation, which amongst other aims, supported the extension of the right to vote to most adult males. These groups held demonstrations of up to 100,000 people at a time to put pressure on the government. Such demonstrations showed both the responsibility of the artisans and the risk of them rioting. Within weeks of taking office, the Conservatives were faced with a political riot in Hyde Park. A meeting by the Reform League ended in a major riot when the police attempted to prevent the meeting taking place. The event caused great alarm, many fearing a return to the revolutionary activity associated with the Great Reform Bill crisis of 1830-32. ...read more.

Conclusion

When answering ?Why the Tories passed the Reform Bill in 1867?? it can be argued that the tenacity and motives of Benjamin Disraeli are as much a reason as the Conservative Party itself. It would be wrong to assume that Disraeli was primarily motivated by the threat of popular pressure. Many ascribe his main motive as entirely party political: destroy Gladstone, consolidate middle class opinion behind the Conservatives, thus keeping the Tories in power, but above all else, strengthen his own position in the party. However, the Conservatives had been out of office for twenty years and many were desperate for power. The split of the Liberals provided the Conservatives with the political opportunity to regain popularity. Many politicians at the time had realised that reform was inevitable and so cynically, sought to be seen in favour of change, in order to gain a political advantage; a view adopted predominantly by Disraeli and the Conservatives. The Tories can also be seen, however to be bowing to popular pressure. At the time there was a growing consensus for reform and organisations such as the Reform Union and Reform League added additional weight to the widespread calling for parliamentary reform. Consequently, from both perspectives, it appears that the Conservatives? Reform Bill was proposed to appease the people and to regain popularity. Matt Williams ...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)

    the working class. This meant that if the Tory's passed an act of social Reform the working class may feel that the Conservatives were attempting to give them equal status in society and therefore, upon receiving the right to vote would repay the favour by voting for the Conservatives in the next election.

  2. TO WHAT EXTENT DID GLADSTONE AND DISRAELI PURSUE DIFFERENT POLICIES IN THE YEARS 1874-1886?

    fortunes, though, cannot be ruled out, and this possibility would introduce a similarity in stance. Despite these possible differences, it is still clear that Gladstone and Disraeli were similarly active in terms of domestic social reform. A final similarity between the two statesmen which has already been noted was their willingness to preserve British interests abroad.

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

    Both major parties began establishing local clubs and organizations. The Liberal founded Working Men's Clubs and the Conservatives the constitutional Clubs (Working-class orientated) and Conservative Associations. These groups helped educate new voters and socialize them as well. So to sum up, the impact of the 1867 and 1884-85 was great

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

    In the long run people like William Cobbett in exciting the passions of the people towards reform, did harm to the cause of parliamentary reform in 1832. Thomas Paine (1737-1809) was influential in the American and French Revolution. He was not scared to hide his political views and produced a

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

    process and they had shown that they were capable of making the right choices. There was an increase in the number of £10 householders as the middle classes were gaining wealth. Therefore MP’s weren’t completely hesitant in supporting further reform.

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

    Religious Institutions * The CoE remained largely silent on the subject of women?s suffrage. In contrast, the chief Rabbi, non-conformists and Quakers supported the issue. The Media * The National Press was generally hostile to women?s suffrage, and only really engaged with the issue when the campaigns became militant.

  1. How liberal were the Tories from 1821 to 1827?

    It also emphasized Liverpool's wishes on free trade. Another way the government appeared more liberal was via Frederick Robinson, who had a very liberal reputation of being Chancellor of the Exchequer. He decided to reduce domestic duties on everyday, popular items such as on tea, coffee, and wool in order to encourage demand and improve the stability of the economy.

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

    since he became leader of his party, the attempt to link up with any available group to secure a majority. The linkup between the Conservatives and the radical liberals who opposed the liberal 1866 bill led by Robert Lowe called the Adullamites was a smart move by Disraeli for several reasons.

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