3. Why did democracy grow

Report
Issue 1: Why did Britain become
more democratic?
EVALUATION of the factors which
caused democracy to develop
More than one factor:
Pressure
Groups
Social &
Economic
change
Political
advantage
Changing
political
attitudes
Examples
set by
other
countries
Effects of
WWI
1. Pressure groups as a
cause
National Reform
Union 1864 –
promoted unity
between middle
and working
classes
Reform League 1864 –
more RADICAL
campaigned for
universal suffrage along
with Chartists, Trade
unionists and socialists
Demonstrations
– eg. John
Bright
organised large
public meetings
NUWSS
WSPU
• The 1860s marked a time of revolutionary spirit.
The above groups played an important role in
supporting the extension of franchise in the 2nd
Reform Act, 1867.
1866, Hyde Park riots caused alarm
HISTORIOGRAPHY – How far were
pressure groups a key cause?
YES
• Roydon Harrison – Trade
depression and
unemployment created a
volatile mood. Artisans
(skilled workers) became
more respectable.
• Hyde Park riots of July 1866
all pressurised government
in light of 1867 Reform Act
and sparked fear or
revolution!
NO
• Other historians argue that
there is no evidence that the
law was changed as a result to
pressure groups.
• In fact, the new laws passed
went beyond the demands of
pressure groups.
• They merely persuaded
politicians that there was a
NEED for reform.
• Played no part in causing 1884
Reform Act.
2. Social & economic
change as a cause
Industrial
Revolution
Growing
Urbanisation
• Industrial revolution =HUGE CHANGE in: population
demographic, urbanisation, class structures and the
decline of landed aristocracy.
• Working class wanted improved living/working conditions –
urban cities gave them means to organise protest and
trade unions increased.
• Middle class argued they created wealth for the country
so should have a say in government instead of lazy
landowners.
Urbanisation
• Up until 1750 80% of the population worked in
the countryside. However, industrialisation
meant towns/cities grew and by 1850 50% of
people lived in cities – 75% by 1900
• Urbanisation (rural to urban demographic
change) resulted in a rapid spread of IDEAS.
Railway networks aided communication of these
ideas and helped political organisations run.
Cheap daily newspapers contributed to the
creation of political identity
• Workers’ reputation as being too ‘stupid’ to
vote changed as people became better
educated (1870s Education Acts).
HISTORIOGRAPHY
• “Popular pressure had little effect on
governments who had their own motives for
reform….it can be argued that political
advantage was at the heart of much of the
change.” John Kerr
‘Dish the Whigs’
by ‘stealing the
Liberals’ clothes’!
3. Political advantage
as a cause
• Disraeli and the
Conservative Party
thought they would
gain support from the
Working classes if
they gave more people
the vote.
• This they did in 1867
when passing the 2nd
Reform Act.
• Disraeli had ‘stolen the
Liberals’ clothes’, (i.e.
taken their ideas) and
had ‘dished’ them at
the same time!
HISTORIOGRAPHY
• ‘ By limiting the amount of spending on
elections, some Liberals believed the
advantage held by wealthier Conservative
opponents would be reduced. This made
political reform an action based on the hope
that reform would give an advantage to the
party in power.’ –John A. Kerr and James
McGonigle.
Political Parties
Attitudes
• Liberal Party –
• Leader William Gladstone saw
the better off skilled working
class as their natural
supporters.
• They had middle class values
of hard work, education and
moral values.
• Called them the ‘respectable
elite’.
11
• Conservatives –
• Did not wish to give the vote to
the working class yet their
government passed the 1867
Reform Act (1868 in Scotland).
Why?
• Their leader Disraeli persuaded
them that they could not ignore
reform and to allow the Liberals
to pass the reform act might
alienate potential new voters
• Disraeli convinced Conservative
MPs that the working class would
gratefully vote for the party
that gave them the vote and
would follow their ‘betters’
advice on what to vote for.
12
Changing attitudes of Political Parties
• The Conservatives passed the 1867
Reform Act which gave the vote to 1 in 3
working men. They thought the new
voters would gratefully support them.
• Not to be outdone, the Liberal’s 1884
Reform Act doubled the amount of men
able to vote to 2 in 3. It was an attempt
to get support for the Liberal Party
from the working class too.
13
Analysis
•
•
•
•
At first political parties were against
widening the franchise. But then both the
Liberals and Conservatives saw advantages in
doing so:
They believed that the party who did give the
working class the vote would be rewarded
with their loyalty. For example, the skilled
working class following 1867 voted
Conservative and the unskilled following 1884
voted Liberal.
It would also stop potential unrest from the
working class demanding even greater
democracy.
Key point – outbidding each other led to more
working class men having the vote and so
greater democracy
14
4. Changing Political Attitudes
“The times they are a’ changing” – Political
reform was inevitable and no longer seen
as a threat to the stability of the
country. Democracy and Liberalism would
be the building blocks of the new order.
Why?
• Elsewhere in Europe and USA, there were struggles
taking place for liberty and Britain supported them
so why not in their own country? USA became a
republic and wrote their own constitution. France
based their government on
LIBERTY FRATERNITY EQUALITY
• American Civil War (1862-65) – Artisans (skilled
town workers) proved their education and
conscience by supporting the ‘North’ (Unionists) and
put pressure on the ‘South’ (Confederacy) by
refusing to buy cotton from slave workers even if it
meant a pay cut.
• This convinced some politicians that workers
deserved the vote.
5. Examples set by other
countries
Britain was the ‘Mother country’ in the
British Empire .
Before the outbreak of war in 1914 Australia
and New Zealand had already granted the
vote to women.
By 1914 some American states had also
granted the vote to women. Many politicians,
particularly by 1918 didn’t want to portray
the idea the country was living in the dark
ages.
6. WWI
• Women’s changing role in wartime justified
change.
• Fear of backlash of militant campaign if they
didn’t reform.
• Traditionalist historians believe that WWI
greatly influenced the spread of democracy.
• Traditionalists hold that some women gained
the vote in 1918 because of the dangerous war
work they committed themselves to.
• Therefore the spread of democracy was a
result of rewarding women for their role in
munitions factories.
Counter-argument
• However, the traditionalists argument is
weak, due to the fact that the women who
worked in factories were typically under
30 years old.
• Therefore, women’s war work did not lead
to the enfranchisement of the women who
participated in the war work and it cannot
be said that WWI led directly to the
spread of the vote to women.
Group task
• To what extent was popular pressure a
major reason for the spread of democracy
in Britain between 1851 and 1918?
• Discuss which reason is more important in
the spread of democracy:
–
–
–
–
–
–
PRESSURE GROUPS
URBANISATION & INDUSTRIALISATION
CHANGING POLITICAL ATTITUDES
POLITICAL ADVANTAGE
EXAMPLES ABROAD
WWI

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