Why Did Britain Become More Democratic Between 1851 And 1928 Essay

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Alison Martin Britain How important was political opportunism as a reason for Britain becoming more democratic between 1851 and 1928 ? Between 1851 and 1928 Britain evolved into a democracy. This happened due to various reasons. Some historians believe that the most important reason for parliamentary reform was political opportunism, whereas other historians believe that it was other factors that caused Britain to become a democracy. The other factors were: the long term legacy of the French revolution, the impact of the industrial revolution on British society, the new voting system which replaced the outdated one. Also there are more reasons such as political opportunism, the changing attitudes of the public, and the external influences…show more content…
From 1850-1928 technology improved, industry grew, cities grew bigger and education improved. It is clear that with all this happening, people would also change and this section will enlighten you about the changing attitudes of politicians. Politicians are the policy makers who represent the people and who introduce national reform. If there is to be an extension of democracy then ultimately, the politicians will play a pivotal role. The four main politicains in this time were; William Gladstone, Benjamin Disraeli, David Lloyd George and Herbert Henry Asquith who all contributed to the parliamentary reform. The changing social and economic landscape during the 19th century brought about a new working class identity and in urban and rural areas and it would be stupid of politicians not to recognise the increasing political awareness demonstrated by the working classes. In 1832 both the Liberals and Conservatives had been cautious about extending the vote and as such the franchise was only extended to the Middle class. However, the emergence of political figures like William Gladstone and Benjamin Disraeli gave hope to an increasingly vociferous working class movement. Prior to the 2nd Reform Act being passed in 1867 which allowed skilled working class in towns to be included in the franchise with property qualifications, both men had persuaded their parties to widen the electorate and improve British
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