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

The Most Important Steps in British Democracy Were Taken Between 1867 and 1918.” How far do you agree?

Extracts from this document...


John Dickie 5F2 Higher History "The Most Important Steps in British Democracy Were Taken Between 1867 and 1918." How far do you agree? I believe that it is quite true to claim that the most important steps in British democracy were taken in the period of 1867 to 1918. Preliminary steps, ones that contributed to democratisation, were also taken in the decades before this, but the most important events that caused Britain to become a democracy, took place in this fifty-year period. British democracy today involves all adults being enfranchised. Steps taken along the road to democracy in the early 1800s did not come anywhere near this level of democracy. Acts after this time, in the second half of the century came progressively closer to this goal. Before the period of 1867 to 1918, there were limited attempts made towards reform, but there was a widespread belief amongst the ruling parties of the day that the poor and women were unable to form valid or useful opinions for themselves. This was due to the fact that all MPs were landowners, a fact protected by law. These landowners did not see it necessary that the poor should have any say in how the country was run because they were seen as having no valuable views on politics and could not contribute to society due to their lack of wealth, and perhaps more importantly, property. ...read more.


The fact that a more representative government structure was needed for the expanding and changing Britain was seen by some MPs. In 1867, the Second Reform Act extended the franchise was extended to over 1.1 million more people around the country, and so now the right to vote was held by around two and a half million males. The new system was a lot fairer, with all rate-paying men, living in boroughs, who had been paying rent for a year, were allowed to vote, and also lodgers in accommodation which had an annual value of �10 of more, became voters, people occupying buildings with �12 or more in rateable value were also enfranchised. These changes made it possible for nearly one in three people in Britain to vote in elections, a notable increase from the one in seven who could vote previously. Politicians such as Gladstone were wary of progressing in reform towards a greater level of democracy due to the opposition that would be met, not only by many voters, but also by his own Liberal party. He saw however that the likelihood was that sections of the community enfranchised by him would be likely to support him further on down the line. ...read more.


Arguably, the most important piece of legislation to be passed that took Britain nearer being a democratic state was the Representation of the People Act of 1918. This saw the strong demands of the past decades of the suffragettes made a reality. All women over the age of 30 were now allowed to vote. Another part of this Act, which made Britain a democratic state, was to enfranchise all men over the age of 21. It is clear that the most important steps towards Britain becoming a democracy were taken between 1867 and 1918. The period beforehand had seen the vast majority of the country's population having no say whatsoever in the running of the land. The 1832 Reform Act, the only significant piece of legislation to be taken affecting the democratic system did not have any lasting effect the fairness of the political system in the Britain. It had to be patched up and changed and built upon so much that it had no lasting effect. I feel that it is quite obvious that in the latter half of the nineteenth and first two decades of the twentieth centuries, the most important efforts towards democracy were taken. The franchise was given to all adult males and a large proportion of the adult females. Britain was almost a true democracy in the modern sense at the end of 1918. ...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 Sources of Law 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 Sources of Law essays

  1. Why was the Apprenticeship system brought to an end in 1838 in the British ...

    This was because dismissals involved replacements, and suitable unprejudiced replacements were extremely hard to find. In the view of the inadequate number of stipendiary magistrates assigned to the colonies, the great distances they travelled, the withering climate and the

  2. How successful were the Liberal Reforms of 1906-1914?

    They also attempted to regulate the treatment of workers with the introduction of working hours and minimum wages in some industries.

  1. Liberal reform 1906-1914

    At the Board of Trade, the government initiated work on the setting up of labour exchanges, which eventually resulted in legislation in 1909. Many argue that the introduction of labour exchanges was ineffective as work was still very hard to find and wages were low, not allowing the average lower income workers to pull themselves over the poverty line.

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

    It was quite the opposite. Earl Grey described it as: "The most aristocratic and reactionary measure ever to pass this house." Rotten boroughs had generally been eliminated and the new industrialists enfranchised, however the process remained the same open vote, and there was a ten-pound property qualification, which meant that, the majority of the working classes, who owned nothing, could not vote.

  1. Which was the most significant Reform, 1830-1931, why?

    The Liberal leader Gladstone introduced a moderate reform bill which was expected to bring in an extra 400,000 voters and there was no mention of redistribution of seats. When Disraeli came into power in 1867, pressure for reform had reached its peak.

  2. Did giving women the right to vote in 1918 improve their role and status ...

    But with many children working in factories it is debatable how many actually benefited from this Education Act. But there was still a vast gulf between the rights of men and women. The Married Women's Property Act of 1884 at last defined women as no longer being a 'chattel' but an independent person in their own right.

  1. Judicial Reform and Bill of Rights.

    of the judicial powers and the Lord's powers to ensure a safeguard for citizen's rights. The public could even vote for the judges of their choice in an election, although this would take a lot of time and money, and if there was a low turnout rate then it may be a wasted effort.

  2. A. Advise Quill what changes he needs to make to his business practices and when.

    his business by creating the deeds electronically using a Gothic font to upgrade his business of elegant hand-written titles. If the document in electronic form is to be authenticated by the licensed conveyancer rather than the individual (i.e. the buyer), he will need to "obtain written authority of his principal"8.

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