Improved Representation And Greater Democracy Essay

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There are two types of popular pressure which may have brought improved representation and greater democracy. The Marxist historians argued that violence improved representation. The meritocratic or moral force argument was the idea that the unfranchised proved that they would not undermine the constitution through their interest in property initially, but World War One led to the reformation of this idea. In addition, the different party political interests may have also led to the Reform Acts being approved, which may have also led to a shift in the balance of the constitution. The reasons for improved representation and greater democracy in Britain in the years 1830 to 1931 are heavily contested.
Marxist historians argued that violence played
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The middle class merited the vote in 1832 through creating the assumption that they would maintain the institutions after rejecting participation in the riots and acquiring property in the industrial revolution. The skilled artisans wanted to emulate the example set by the middle class because it proved to be a more effective method to gaining enfranchisement than violent protests in the riots in 1832 and Chartism. They created the Rochdale Pioneers in the 1840’s which showed there were skilled men with property who were not being enfranchised. They also created New Model Unions to show they believed in “self-help” and retained the same values as the middle class. Their interest in property and their demonstration of conservative values led to skilled artisans like compounders being brought “within the pale of the constitution” in 1867 because they were seen as “capable citizens” who could also give Disraeli political gain. In 1884, Gladstone used the opportunity whilst he was in power to enfranchise those more disposed to vote for the Liberals, like coal miners. Although this increased representation, having an interest in property created a meritocracy and permanently excluded women and men without property from the franchise, which decreased the pace of …show more content…
The election in November 1915 was due to occur and the propertied classes who went to war had lost their residency voting qualifications. These circumstances forced the politicians to realise that hundreds of thousands of the ‘residuum’ and the non-combatants, that were initially believed to be “too poor and too weak” and self-interested. The politicians called the Speaker’s Conference in 1916 to solve this moral dilemma because these men had supported the political system whilst being without property by sacrificing their lives and aiding the war effort from the Home Front, making the prospect of not receiving the vote inconceivable. The actions of these men led to the enfranchisement of all men over 21 in 1918, thus opening the possibility of women being enfranchised because they rejected the violent Suffragette tactics and also supported the war effort. They handed out white feathers to men who avoided going to war, 1,345,000 women undertook the jobs of men at war and the “munitionettes” risked their lives making weaponry, proving they were more than homemakers and this shows the sacrifices made by women for their country. Even though these women’s contributions were duly noted, only women over 30 were enfranchised because their acceptance that their husbands should go to war demonstrated to the politicians that their selflessness was akin to the

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