The Franchise in Britain Between 1867 and 1918

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Why was the right to vote give to more and more people between 1867 and 1918? In 1867 Britain wasn't a very democratic country. There were many reasons for why Britain became more democratic during the 19th and early 20th centuries. With each reform the franchise was slightly increased. Looking back we can see that this was due to a lot of different pressures. Some were long-term, such as political advantage and urbanisation which did not immediately cause political change but eventually led to many changes. Some were some short-term, such as pressure groups, foreign influences and the support of new ideas, but they each led to an increase to the franchise. The social and economic changes that took place helped increase the franchise a lot. Britain's population was growing throughout the 19th century. Mainly people were leaving rural areas and moving into towns. Soon enough the town population in England was the same as that of the countryside. Landowners had political power in Britain for many years. However, due to the industrial revolution, factory owners and those involved with business had the new wealth of Britain. This new wealthy middle class wanted a say in the running of the country, they argued that because they created a lot of the country’s wealth that they deserved a say in how the country is run. The working class was becoming more politically aware. This ways due to the development of the railways giving them access to political awareness. They thought that as the wealth creators of Britain that they also deserved a say in British politics. They decided that they would unite if they were to have any power to accomplish this. The First Reform Act of 1832 gave greater influence to the middle class and the Second Reform Act of 1867 gave the vote to the skilled working class in the towns. By 1884 these same rights were extended to rural workers.
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