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

Discuss the factors which were necessary for the emergence of liberal democracy in Britain

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Discuss the factors which were necessary for the emergence of liberal democracy in Britain. Liberal democracy, a political system characterised by freedom of expression and education, free elections, universal suffrage and a multiplicity of political parties, political decisions made through an independent governing body, and an independent judiciary, with a state monopoly on law enforcement (Elkin, 1985. p.1-8), became a central element of political discourse and struggle in the 19th century. It was an age of intense debate and battles over the relationship between state and civil society and proper distribution of political power between and within both. Old regimes of these states - monarchy, church, aristocracies and landlords - found themselves challenged by a cluster of institutions that emerged, such as the bureaucratic nation-state, extension of franchise, industrialisation and the changing social composition of the population. In this essay I shall discuss these social and economic conditions that gave rise to the emergence of a liberal democratic state in 19th century Britain. By the 19th century the invention of labour-saving lime-saving machines had revolutionised industry. By 1851 at the Great Exhibition the UK was dubbed the workshop of the world as most mass manufactured items were produced more efficiently and competitively in Britain than elsewhere. ...read more.

Middle

This is an example of the political system being required to defend civil liberties against the encroachment of the government institutions and powerful forces in society, a concept attached to liberal democracy. The luddites also encouraged the state monopoly on law enforcement, another dominant discourse of the emergence of liberal democracy. However, representative democracy does not always act for the majority of the public and it is often argued that a government of elected representatives 'can and in fact often does serve as a mechanism through which a ruling class organizes its domination over other classes' (Levine, 1944. p.151). Patterns of community and family life were factors of the changing social composition of the population. Newly radically politicised men argued for working class women to be confined within the domestic sphere (Clark, 1995). Women's work was construed as immoral and the notion of a family wage was put forward. Restrictions on women's and children's hours of work were made in factory reform acts and in the Ten Hour Bill. In 1854 Barbara, famous for activist feminism nowadays, wrote her first nation-wide publication, 'A Brief Summary of the Most Important Laws concerning Women'. ...read more.

Conclusion

The movement presented petitions to parliament three times and was rejected on each attempt. But although the Chartist movement ended without achieving its aims, the fear of civil unrest remained and many Chartist ideas were included in the Reform Acts of 1867 and 1884. The Chartist movement encouraged more universal suffrage and free elections, both essential to representative liberal democracy. In this essay I have briefly discussed the social and economic conditions that gave rise to the emergence of a liberal democratic state in 19th century Britain, focussing particularly on the impact of industrialisation and the growth of the nation-state, political democracy and population. We can see that struggles in these areas against exclusions on the basis of class and gender introduced factors such as more universal suffrage, trade unionism, education and a civil service, key features of the development of liberal democracy. Although large advancements were made towards the emergence of liberal democracy some would argue that, in practise, it is neither liberal nor democratic. Marxists and socialists argue that liberal democracy is an integral part of the capitalist system which is class based and, therefore, not fully democratic. Because of this it is seen as fundamentally restricted, existing or operating in a way that facilitates economic exploitation. 1358 words. ...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 Political Philosophy 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 Political Philosophy essays

  1. 'Parties do not matter anymore.' Discuss.

    Furthermore, the national committees and other party committees e.g. the National Republican Senatorial Committee, have played an increasingly assertive role in fund-raising activities. They co-ordinate and distribute funds to party candidates, particularly in close contests and in open seats in which there is no incumbent.

  2. Is the Liberal perspective on world politics too idealistic?

    and the domination of society by the monarchy and a hereditary aristocracy (Britain). Adams and Sydie state that these "thinkers put society and social relations under intense scrutiny". (Enlightenment and Liberalism. Jan 13 2003) Enlightenment was closely linked with scientific revolution.

  1. The Parliamentary Reform and Redistribution Act of 1884 - 1885.

    The Fabian group was a "fact-finding and fact-dispensing body" and they produced a series of pamphlets on a wide variety of different social issues. By 1886 the Fabians had sixty-seven members and an income of �35 19s.

  2. New Beginnings

    a solid racial prejudice, the idea of establishing a method of compromise within the two becomes even more clouded with doubt and uncertainty. On one hand, we have the Afrikaner population, an Afrikaans speaking people who have been established in Southern Africa since the 17th century mainly descending from northwestern

  1. Why 19th Century Liberals Feared Democracy

    Indeed democracy stimulates civil participation in the political decision-making process creating a better-informed and politically sophisticated citizenry. Consequently Rousseau and Mill claimed that in the absence of democracy ?ignorance and brutality? will prevail. Modern liberals have come to understand that democracy has educational benefits as citizens enhance their understanding and achieve a higher level of personal development.

  2. What were the most important factors in the rise of the modern state?

    At this time, social status dictated the amount of authority one possessed and the laws that they were obliged to abide by. This complex system of power caused an overlapping of legitimacy with the various actors often competing for sovereignty and shifting alliances frequently.

  1. Nationalism is inherently expansionist and destructive - discuss

    For example in Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Angola it is seen as necessary to suppress tribal rivalries in order for the country as a whole to progress. However it is problematic to attempt to attribute certain characteristics to anti-colonial and post-colonial nationalism, as it has varied significantly between different countries.

  2. Participation is the essence of democracy Discuss

    This will discourage people to go and put in their vote. Representative Democracy- for this type of democracy to take place, people who are eligible to vote will vote for someone who is running to become a member of parliament (E.g. Member of Parliament) to represent their views in government.

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