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

Why was the passage of the 1832 Reform Act so contested when it's importance was so small?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Why was the passage of the 1832 Reform Act so contested when it's importance was so small? During the early part of the 19th Century reform was placed low on the political agenda. This was perhaps due to the Napoleonic Wars with France which showed people the damaging effects war could have on the country. However, in 1819 the arguments concerning the reformation of parliament came back into the public's conscious. The growing role of the media acted as a new method of informing the public of their rights and the need for action. People were also being made aware through public meetings held by radical MP's that favoured reform. It is therefore not hard to see why in 1832 the Great Reform Act was passed. 'Old Corruption' was the name given to the voting system prior to the reform because bribery and corruption were the principle means through which candidates secured votes. ...read more.

Middle

The election process was not conducted on a single day but held over a number of weeks. The result might not be know for 2 months. There was no voting in secrecy. Voting took place on a platform amid an atmosphere of drunkenness and sometimes violent intimidation. Corruption was rife in terms of treating, cooping and the hiring of lambs. It is therefore reasonable that people called for reform in 1832. The 1832 Reform Act was seen at the time to be a solution to an ongoing problem highlighted by popular unrest. It attempted to correct the failings of 'Old Corruption' whilst ensuring the elites in society retained their grip on power. The Act consisted of two essential elements, the redistribution of seats and the remodelling and systemising of the franchise. The Act released 143 seats that were redistributed accordingly - 62 seats to English counties, 22 new two-member boroughs, 19 new single member boroughs, 8 new seats in Scotland, 5 new seats in Wales and 5 new seats in Ireland. ...read more.

Conclusion

In the short term, the 1832 Reform Act did not institute a dangerously democratic political structure. The number of voters doubled and approximately 717,000 people could vote. Those 717,000 consisted of 18% of the male population of England which meant that there was a 6% increase. It brought some of the upper middle class into order but till all interests and classes were not represented in Parliament. More people had the right to vote but they came from a more limited sector of society. With so many people till excluded from franchise, there began a realisation that the points of view of the people were not being recognised. So why was such a fuss made about this Act if it didn't change an awful lot? The Reform Act of 1832 had been the initial break with tradition. Before this event nobody had realistically contested the supremacy of the Upper Classes or tried to bridge gaps in the order of society. From now on it would be difficult to resist the demands for change and the extension of the vote to a greater number of people. ...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

    Do you agree with the view that the 1832 reform act was a conservative ...

    as Burgage and Potwalloper boroughs were done away with and replaced with a uniform �10 qualification to anyone in a Borough. This, at the time was no small feat. Only perhaps the newly formed United States of America could boast voting rights such as these and that country was formed exactly on what the Whigs didn't want.

  2. Why was the reform act of 1832 passed?

    Many Tory peers were disgusted and stayed away and so its passage was ensured How close Britain was to reform during the crisis is debatable and different historians held varying views on the situation. E.P.Thompson said "Britain was within an ace of revolution" as he argues that it was the

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

    From 1811 to 1813 and again in 1816 there were a number of violent incidents occurring in textile areas around the country. The attacks were caused because of general unrest combined with the opposing of the new machinery supposedly threatening their jobs.

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

    The Reform Act only managed make a few amendments, as it could have possibly been rejected if it was too forceful. It was clear that some citizens in Britain did not think that the Reform Act produced a positive effect juxtaposed to the previous system whereas others did.

  1. Do you agree with the view that the 1832 reform act was a conservative ...

    The violence alienated the middle class and respectable support. Also from my own knowledge after the violence of the Newport rising and the Plug Riots the middle class did seem to go much further against the cause of Chartism with over 10,000 volunteer middle class police men choosing to support the army and police and the meeting on Kennington Common.

  2. How do the poets in 'Charlotte O'Neils song' and 'Nothing Changed' show their feelings ...

    Hope this helps. Submitted by: David Tutty, (Age 16) English > Q. How do the poets in 'Charlotte O'Neils song' and 'Nothing Changed' show their feelings about prejudice and inequality ? In 'Charlotte O'Neil's Song' the poet describes all the differences in lifestyle between the rich and the servants.

  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. Death is Part of the Process

    Australian Tanner was the number two seed. He had thrashed the number one in the semi-finals. Will was unseeded. This was the first time the two men had clashed, but with Will's current blazing form, the bookies were divided about the outcome of the match.

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