Growth of Democracy: essays. What progress did Britain make towards becoming a democracy between 1850 and 1914 ? Would you agree that the Representation of the People’s Act of 1918 virtually completed the democratisation of Britain?
Electorate up from 1.5 million to 2.5 million
1 in 3 men could vote before ratio was 1 in 7
Most new voters were in the boroughs (skilled artisans benefited the most)
Largest increases were in large industrial boroughs e.g. Manchester and Leeds
In counties and smaller boroughs the balance of political forces remained the same- landowners, middle class still in controlComment on 1867 Act
Franchise had been extended to the lower middle class and much of the working class
However MPs remained ’gentlemen of means’ main change was increasing number of MPs whose wealth came from industry rather than land
MPs not paid until 1900 and no separate Labour party yet for working class to vote for.
Methods of electioneering had to change to attract voters – national parties/ less independent MPsHow well represented were the new voters by 1900?