Britain Becoming a Democracy

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How far was Britain a democracy by 1918

Britain was partially becoming a democracy by 1918, this was from more people gaining the vote from the new reform acts and representation of the Peoples Act. The British population also had more choice when voting from the emergence of the 3 party system which included Labour, Liberals and Conservative parties. Access to information was another reason why Britain was becoming more of a democracy as the growth of the railways meant that newspapers were more available and that the public could keep up to date with all political news. Participation of the public meant that the public had the opportunity to become a MP from MP's now being paid which gave a greater representation of the peoples wants.Finally fairness plays a part on why Britain became more of a democracy as people could now cast a vote in private uninfluenced.

The British public having the right to vote made Britain more democratic by 1918 from the 2nd reform Act of 1867, that made it possible for owners or tenants of a house valued at £10 were given the vote and Scottish representation of MP's was increased. On the other plural voting was still common from voting lasting 3 weeks meaning someone could vote more than once if they had property in different counties. D.G. Wright expresses that it should not be right for someone to be about to vote twice when he says “In 1867, one man, one vote never existed in Victorian Britain, even after the third reform act”. More of the British public were introduced to the franchise by the 3rd Reform Act in 1884; this gave the vote to all male householders who had a one year residency in a borough. Also all male lodgers living in a borough room with a value of at least £10 could vote in counties, men owning property with an annual value of £5 could vote. Another thing was that counties gained 25 extra MP's and the number of voters increased by about 1,120,000 people. From these reform acts politicians knew that this reform act would lead to further extension of the franchise when Pearce and Stearn expressed “ Politicians of all parties, whether they wanted it or not, accepted that further extensions of the franchise were inevitable sooner or later”.

The British public having more choice when voting led to Britain becoming more democratic between the mid nineteenth century and 1928. Britain had more choice because of the Emergence of the three party system. These three parties were the Conservatives, Liberals and the Labour party. The conservative party was for people who believed in the tories for their traditional politics. The whigs benefited from the continuing drift to their ranks of wealthy men who had once been whigs and also newspapers like the Daily Mail supported them, they also kept there policies together for the wealthy and ordinary people. The liberal party was supported by thousands of Church-goers, H-Pelling describes how important they were to the Liberals when he says “ In small towns and country villages the ministers and the lay preachers were the back bone of the liberal strength”. The liberals found that most of their support was found in the English Midlands,Wales and Scotland. Finally the labour party were supported by the working class and the poor. The labour party was a result of Trade Unions able to find people to stand for them. The Trade Unions were made up of working class who were educated and realised that there was not a party that supported the working class.

Access to information was another reason for Britain becoming more democratic as the Railways developed it made information easy to obtain and keep people up to date in political events by making newspapers widely available and news that was recent. This is shown when Kerr and McGongle expressed “ The railways reduced the isolation of some parts of the country and helped develop a national political consciousness”. As well as this public libraries were emerging were people would visit...
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