Do you agree with the view that the 1867 reform act was largely as a result of public pressure for reform
In 1867 the second reform act was passed by Disraeli, there were many factors which brought about the reform act and public pressure was definitely one of them however there were other factors which helped the 1867 reform act to be passed, such as the conservatives being opportunists, the personal ambitions of Disraeli and also the fear of unrest that pushed the act to be passed.
Public pressure had a large part to do with the passing of the 1867 reform bill in many ways. Most working class men at this time felt they were ready for the vote, this lead to the creation of pressure groups these would campaign for enfranchisement. In 1864 the national reform union was set up, this was mainly aimed at bringing the interests of the working and middle class men together in politics. Also created in 1864 was the reform league, although similar to the national reform union this was much more radical, it mainly aimed towards having universal male suffrage and a secret ballot. These groups would hold rallies of over 100,000 to try and put pressure on the government and get the bill passed, these groups doing this is significant evidence that public pressure could have been a large contributor to the passing of the act.
It could also be argued that not only was the government being pressured into reform by these groups but it was scared of the repercussions and outbursts that could follow if the act was not passed. During this time Britain had gone through many difficult times such as , economic depression, a cholera epidemic and quite high unemployment. This would make the government anxious about the current temper of the general public and therefore wouldn’t want to upset them. An example of the public unrest would have been the Hyde park riots of 1867, where railings were ripped off windows were smashed and there was great uproar. This is then...
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