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"By 1928 the essentials of democracy had been achieved." How far would you agree?

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Introduction

Amdg Laura Sermanni History essay 11/09/04 "By 1928 the essentials of democracy had been achieved." How far would you agree? Democracy is definable as a form of government where there is a fair representation system, universal adult suffrage, the right of the electorate to participate in the political process, freedom of speech for all, a government dependant on majority support in the commons and regular elections, free of corruption. In the eighteen hundreds various events, such as the French revolution, made many Britons wary of democracy, because of the radicalism and violence that had occurred during them. However by 1900 politicians were eager to be seen as champions of democracy. The electoral system in Britain before the 1932 reform bill had been virtually unchanged since the late 1680s, by comparison to a country whose economy, class system and political methods had changed substantially since that time. The principle reason for the great change in the orientation of the country was the Industrial Revolution, which had created a new economy and caused the emergence of new cities such as Manchester and Birmingham where the new factories were centred. However, because the electoral system was still that which had been formulated in 1682, these new towns had no political representation, while ...read more.

Middle

The lack of limitation placed on electioneering expenses meant that wealthier candidates had a distinct advantage if they were willing to spend to enter parliament. And lack of payment discouraged the working class would-be candidates. Although this act was the first that really pushed for a fairer society it was in reality no where near reaching democracy it still lacked major democratic ideas such as universal adult franchise and elections free of corruption. While the Second Reform Act gradually moved the nation closer to Democracy, the electoral system still had to free itself from bribery and corruption. However the corruption in elections was to be stopped in the secret ballot act of 1872. After the passing of the 1867 Reform Act working class males now formed the majority in most borough constituencies. However, employers were still able to use their influence in some constituencies because of the open system of voting. In parliamentary elections people still had to mount a platform and announce their choice of candidate to the officer who then recorded it in the poll book. Employers and local landlords therefore knew how people voted and could punish them if they did not support their preferred candidate. ...read more.

Conclusion

This act meant that women over the age of thirty who were householders or wives of householders or university graduates had the right to vote and all men over the age of twenty one, who had resided in their homes for over six months could vote. Plural voting was restricted to two votes, with only universities and business premises. However simply the fact that plural voting remained meant that democracy was not quite there yet. This act enlarged the size of the electorate to twenty million. Although this act gave women the vote they were still at a disadvantage. The franchise system between men and women was still unfair, and that needed to be resolved before there could be complete democracy. The franchise qualifications between males and females were resolved in the 1928 representation of the people act. This meant that the franchise qualification was the same for both males and females. This meant that by 1928 nearly all the features of democracy had been achieved. However it was not until 1948 that plural voting was totally destroyed. The main principle of one-man one vote and fair elections free of corruption had been achieved. Nearly all the principles of democracy had been achieved by 1928. There was a fair representation system, universal adult suffrage and corruption free elections. ...read more.

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