Friday, 15 September 2017

Lewis Baston: Disraeli’s “leap in the dark” towards modern democracy. 150 years on from the 1867 Reform Act. | Conservative Home

Lewis Baston: Disraeli’s “leap in the dark” towards modern democracy. 150 years on from the 1867 Reform Act. | Conservative Home
... The cause of extending the right to vote was only very partially satisfied by the 1832 Reform Act and, particularly during the 1840s, there were Chartist protests and petitions from the disenfranchised working class which culminated in a huge rally at Kennington in 1848. Gradual reform, even if not the democracy the Chartists wanted, attracted increasing establishment support and, during the 1850s, there were repeated moves to widen the franchise by lowering the property qualification for the vote (generally a Liberal idea) or creating new ‘fancy franchises’ for different categories, such as graduates or people who paid sufficient tax (generally a Conservative idea). None of these attempts was pursued with much energy: the hostility of Lord Palmerston, the Prime Minister, was a powerful block on progress, and the politics of electoral reform went quiet, except among enthusiasts such as the radical Liberal, John Bright. ...

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