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A) What additional changes had been made by 1874, to the electoral system since the 1832 Reform Act?. The Great Reform Act 1832. 1. County Seats 2 MPs for each Riding of Yorkshire. 26 other countries to have 2 MPs . Isle of Wight to have 1 MP. 7 English Counties to gain a third MP.

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A) What additional changes had been made by 1874, to the electoral system since the 1832 Reform Act?

the great reform act 1832
The Great Reform Act 1832

1. County Seats

  • 2 MPs for each Riding of Yorkshire.
  • 26 other countries to have 2 MPs .
  • Isle of Wight to have 1 MP.
  • 7 English Counties to gain a third MP.
  • 3 Welsh counties to gain a second MP

2. Borough Seats

  • 56 boroughs to lose both MPs.
  • 31 boroughs to lose one MP.
  • 22 new boroughs with one MP to be created.

3. Voters in Counties

  • £40 freeholders
  • £10 copyholders
  • £50 lease holders with lease of at least 20 years
  • £50 tenants, if occupiers
4. Voters in Boroughs
  • Owners or occupiers of property worth £10 or more a year in rent

5. Method of voting

  • To be open, not secret

6. Registration of Voters

  • Voters had to register by putting their names on the electoral roll, and pay a fee of about half a days wage for a factory worker.

7. Maximum length of a Parliament

  • 7 years
second reform act 1867

Additional changes made by 1874:-

Second Reform Act 1867 and The Ballot Act 1872

Second Reform Act 1867
  • Boroughs
  • Vote was given to all householders who paid rates, provided they had lived in their house for at least 1 year.

2. Counties

  • Vote given to all ratepayers (paying £12 a year), to copyholders and leaseholders holding land valued at £5 a year.

3. Redistribution of Seats

  • Boroughs with >10,000 lost 1 MP which meant 45 seats were released.
  • 25 were given to counties, 15 to boroughs without an MP, 1 was given to the University of London, a 3rd member was given to Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds.
  • In Scotland the franchise was brought into line with the English pattern, 7 seats were transferred from England.
  • In Irish boroughs the vote was given to £4 rate payers.
effects of the act
Effects of the Act
  • The electorate increased to 2.46 million.
  • New voters, mainly from the working class towns.


  • Agricultural workers and miners without the vote.
  • Voting still held in public, no privacy .
  • Small towns with over 100,000 had the same amount of voters as those with a population of 2 million.
  • Party organization became more important.
  • Education Act of 1870.
the ballot act 1872
The Ballot Act 1872

Faced opposition, e.g. Russel said that secret ballot voting could increase corruption through others personating people.

Voters would secretly mark a printed ballot with a cross and put it in a sealed box. Votes were then counted in front of other agents.

The act reduced the pressures of voting.

But landowners could still tell who their tenants were voting for.

B) What was the ‘Chandos Clause’ of the 1832 Reform Act, and what do you consider to be its significance?

The Chandos Clause

  • The Chandos Clause is the enfranchisement of the £50 tenant–at–will in the counties.
  • It received support from country gentry and agricultural interests but also from the radicals.
  • Most of the pocket boroughs were abolished by the Reform Act and most of them belonged to the Tory Party.
  • These were offset by extending the right to vote to tenants–at–will.
  • It was adopted in the House of Commons despite opposition from the Government.
  • The tenants had to abide by the wishes of their landlords, who normally supported the Tory Party.
  • The Radicals thought that their failure was largely in terms of the Reform Act – they complained that any radical proposal that reached the Lords was turned down by the Tories.
  • The Clause does not on the other hand explain the Radical’s loss of support in the press.

“Reform that ye may preserve “



Pressure from Gladstone and the Liberals?

Earl Greys push for the reform bill through unwilling Tories

Working class to dumb to get the vote?

Corresponding societies

Tory Democracy?



Existence of radicals – both moderate and extreme




John Bright

Radical pressure

Salisbury’s pragmatism

Gladstone principle or pragmatism?

Arlington house compact


to what extent did the attitudes change
To what extent did the attitudes change?
  • Quite a large extent.
  • In 1885 was Britain near to being a democracy?
  • Principles or pragmatism?
  • Principles or pressure?
  • Radicals large role in changing peoples attitudes
  • Once reform was begun ‘you could not find any point to stop short of the absolute sovereignty of the people’. – Disraeli

D) ‘All electoral reform in the 19th Century was based on pressure from outside Parliament.’

How accurate is this assessment of the motives behind political and electoral reform during this period?


Many electoral reforms took place in the 19th Century

However, these may not have all been a result of pressure from outside Parliament

Many factors usually contribute to reform such as:

- Agitation amongst the public

- Changes in society

- Politicians genuinely wanted reform to improve the system

We will now look at each of the Reform Acts and see in turn the reasons

that led to them taking place.

1832 Reform Act


  • Catholic Emancipation Act
  • Swing Riots
  • Increase of radical influence
  • Decline of British economy and bad harvests

Other factors:

  • Whigs wanting some reform
1867 reform act
1867 Reform Act


  • Radical demands
  • Riots in Hyde Park – 1866
  • Trade depression and cholera epidemic
  • Disraeli feared revolution

Other factors:

  • Principle:

- Tory Democracy

- One Nation Toryism

  • Pragmatic:

- Disraeli wanted to become the party of reform

- Win more support from the working class

- Dish the Whigs

reform acts of 1883 1884 and 1885
Reform Acts of 1883, 1884 and 1885


  • Radicals gaining more political support
  • Avoid radical discontent

Other factors:

  • Liberal politicians wanted these acts passed to avoid public anger

There is no definite factor which determines why electoral reform is passed.

Throughout the 19th Century on many occasions, the pressure from outside

parliament was a major factor in passing reform. However, it was not always

the main reason, and sometimes other factors contributed to the passing of the