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Evaluate the development of democracy in Britain from 1867 to the out break of war.

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Introduction

��ࡱ�>�� ?A����>�������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������5@ ��0�Abjbj�2�2 (J�X�X�6�������������������8� ���vNPPPPPP$ER��t�t�����NN.��. P�1���.N�0�. .������ �. ttIn order to evaluate the development of democracy during this period in Britain it would be helpful to have some clear definition of what democracy actually is. The Oxford English dictionary defines democracy as "a system of government by the whole population, usually through elected representation". This definition would suggest that the whole adult population of a state or country would have the right to vote in a parliamentary election. Evidence may suggest that the parliamentary system in Britain in the middle of the 19th Century did not even come close to this definition. The British electoral system had remained largely unchanged through the entire 17th and 18th Century when politics in Britain was largely dominated by wealthy landowners. The first Parliamentary Reform Act of 1832 increased the franchise in Britain from 435,000 to 653.000 from a population of twenty million. The fact that ninety-four percent of the British population was excluded from the franchise is a clear reflection of how democratic British politics was at this time. The Reform Act of 1832 stimulated public agitation, which heightened political consciousness among the working class. The Chartist movement grew out of a demand for voting rights for the working class at a time when Britain was experiencing an economic recession. The charter consisted of six demands: universal suffrage; equal electoral districts; voting by ballot; payment for members of Parliament and the abolition of the property qualification. ...read more.

Middle

In the later part of the 19th century the National Union of Women's Suffrage was set up. It hoped to win the support of various M.P.s by drawing up petitions and producing pamphlets, but this accomplished very little. In 1903, the Women's Social and Political Union was set up by Emmeline Pankhurst. In the quest for equal suffrage with men, the W.S.P.U. had used more or less the same as the tactics as N.S.W.S. by means of partitions and campaigning. This group of women were not prepared to break the law in their battle to be included in the franchise, but these issues were constantly ignored by M.P.s,, who continually tried to pacify these women by offering false promises. This led to the suffragettes adopting a more aggressive and militant stance. They engaged in activities such as chaining themselves to the railings out side 10 Downing Street, interrupting political meeting, organised rallies, marches and petitions and committing acts of vandalism such breaking shop windows and damaging golf courses. The illegal activities lead to some women being imprisoned, some went on hunger strike in a bid for public publicity. While on hunger strike, some of the women were force-fed. This caused concern within some section of society, so the government introduced the Cat and Mouse Act in 1913. This act allowed the release of women who had been on hunger strike who had became seriously ill as a result, but as soon as they had regained their health they were sent back to prison. ...read more.

Conclusion

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