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

Why was the Reform Act passed in 1832?

Extracts from this document...


Why was the Reform Act passed in 1832? There were several major factors involved in the build up to the reform act which all led to the government having to enforce the reform act to keep the people happy. The voting system was extremely out of date, having not been altered since the 18th century and the government had not taken into consideration the demographic changes with had taken place since then. There were many rotten boroughs (Areas which had low vote to high representation ratio) and yet many fast growing cities like Leeds and Manchester had little or no representation at all which meant that no proportional voting was in place. There were no secret ballots and there was a lot of corruption, both in elections and in parliament. People were bribed to vote for a certain candidate for money instead of their qualities and talents. The swing riots was an explosion in Britain at the time as it was such a huge movement of industrial workers, unhappy at low wages, high unemployment and new labour saving devices led the workers to attack machinery and burn barns which was affecting the amount of work in the country. ...read more.


Between 1770 and 1830, the Tories were the dominant force in the House of Commons. The Tories were strongly opposed to increasing the number of people who could vote. However, in November 1830, Earl Grey, a Whig, became Prime Minister. Grey explained to William IV that he wanted to introduce proposals that would get rid of some of the rotten boroughs. These boroughs were parliamentary constituencies that had over the years, declined in size, but still had the right to elect members of the House of Commons. Many had been prosperous market towns in the Middle Ages, but by now had declined to no more than country villages. Grey also planned to give Britain's fast growing industrial towns such as Manchester, Birmingham, Bradford and Leeds, representation in the House of Commons. In April 1831 Grey asked William IV to dissolve Parliament so that the Whigs could secure a larger majority in the House of Commons. Grey explained this would help his government to carry their proposals for parliamentary reform. William agreed to Grey's request and after making his speech in the House of Lords, walked back through cheering crowds to Buckingham Palace. ...read more.


With London the scene of huge and stormy demonstrations, Earl Grey and his Whig government tried again to introduce a Reform Act. Finally, on 13th April 1832, the Reform Act was passed by a small majority in the House of Lords. Overall, the old political system was out dated and with all the problems occurring, something needed to be done. The most important event which was the turning event, was the change in government attitude, the introduction of the Whigs who were pro reform and with a leader Earl Grey who was determined to continue to not only get pro reform candidates elected but to get a reform passed even if he failed the first time and prevented by those who were averse to reform. The Whigs also had close links with industrialists and supported moderate political and social reform, unlike most Tories who strongly supported the interests of the aristocracy and were opposed to reform of any kind. The pressure of riots, foreign revolutions, and pressure groups also caused the change in attitude that soon forced and persuaded parliament to change their minds and allow the reform bill to be passed in 1832. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...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. Why was the reform act of 1832 passed?

    This helped the businesses increase production greatly but the people of Britain suffered as machines took over their jobs and unemployment in the country rose significantly. This spread anger through the people as unemployment meant no income and therefore families were struggling to survive.

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

    The men whose untiring application and enterprise had created the country's wealth and industrial prosperity were not represented to give their significant views in the House of Commons. There was an obvious case here that there was something wrong with the country's political system and there was a desperate need for a change.

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

    We can see that the rich have a life of luxury and ease while the servants, who are poor, have to do all the hard work. Furthermore, the rich defend their privilege by saying that it's the natural way for the world to operate.

  2. Free essay

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

    But the aim of this riot was to get public ownership of all land and at the same time of this riot, a radical speaker called Henry Hunt called for lower taxes and also for the reform of government. The discontent with government policies began to rise and because of

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

    With the Tories now in office, even had the Whigs been elected they would not have pushed Parliamentary reform as they were divided on the issue. Within a year of Liverpool's stroke6, Tory politics appeared to be in total disorder, and the Tory break-up proved to be a decisive factor

  2. Do you agree with the contemporary view that the Reform Act of 1832 was ...

    duties on imported raw materials, such as cotton, being an example.1 This group by no means supported the idea of universal male suffrage; they simply wanted their own interests to be represented fairly in Parliament. As Moore highlights, they simply wished to reflect the changes in economic power into the

  1. Why was there a reform act in 1832? What were the consequences of the ...

    The Radicals were further influenced by the revolution in France in 1830. The removal of Charles X was welcomed by many radicals in Britain as the destruction of a corrupt political order. Some of the population believed that the French monarchy had fallen because of a failure to recognise genuine

  2. Interpreting the 1832 Reform Act, its origins and effects, has generated continuing debate among ...

    There was no master plan, argues Evans, only general concerns about reserving political influence for property and preventing an alliance of middle-class reformers with the masses. For the most part ministers reacted to extra-parliamentary developments (on this point Evans appears to disagree with McCord, who thinks that the main features

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