How far could the 3rd Reform Act be justifiably called a turning point?

Essay by qwenHigh School, 12th grade January 2004

download word file, 2 pages 4.0

Downloaded 23 times

After the 1867 Reform Act the undemocratic features still continued. The limited redistribution of seats in the 1867 still left the midlands, London and the north underrepresented in Parliament. The uneven distribution of seats favoured the landowning classes who still tended to influence the representation of the smaller borough seats. The House of Commons was still dominated by landowners. Because of this the franchise in the counties was still based on property ownership and was still restrictive. The one-year residence requirement discriminated against the significant proportion if working-class males who moved frequently from one rented accommodation to another. Although the 1867 Act did take the electoral system into previously uncharted territory. Disreali intended to make the step a very tentative one, with only 'respectable' artisans being given the vote and the position of property owners within the existing system being protected.

To a certain extent the 3rd Reform Act was a turning point because not only did it increase the electorate from about 3 to 6 million but also for the first time ever, but also the landed interest was no longer the powerful political class they had previously been.

The 1884 Act has been described as 'the most substantial package of parliamentary reform in the 19th century'. because for the first time in British history, the majority of the electorate were working class in social background. This changed the basis of the representational structure, the system became urban system with rural fringes instead of being rural political system with urban fringes. The gains made by the middle class and working class made the landed gentry suffer because the extension of the vote to agricultural labourers in the countryside, made it harder for the landed gentry to control the labourers. They could not look for automatic nomination. The 3rd Reform...