Why democracy1


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Why democracy1

  1. 1. Why do politics matter? <ul><li>Click on the picture for hyperlink </li></ul>
  2. 2. What does Democracy mean? <ul><li>‘ Democracy’ comes from the Greek ‘demos’ meaning people and ‘kratos’ meaning power </li></ul><ul><li>People Power! </li></ul><ul><li>Democracy is a system of government which permits some effective control by the people over their government. Democracy requires governments to be answerable to the people i.e. the right to vote at regular intervals to remove inefficient and unpopular governments from power and keep some control over what governments do with their power. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Elements of a Democracy <ul><li>Adult suffrage for men and women over 18 </li></ul><ul><li>A secret ballot </li></ul><ul><li>Freedom from intimidation, corruption and bribery </li></ul><ul><li>The right to participate in the political process by voting in elections </li></ul><ul><li>The right to membership of a political party </li></ul><ul><li>Elections every 5 years </li></ul><ul><li>Referenda on major national issues </li></ul><ul><li>Government which rests on majority support in the House of Commons </li></ul><ul><li>A free press with the right to criticise. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Was Britain democratic in 1850? <ul><li>In 1832 a Reform Act was passed which was to become known as ‘the great reform act’ </li></ul><ul><li>Until this time there had been little change in the franchise system for hundreds of years. </li></ul><ul><li>At the beginning of the 19thC British parliament was dominated by the aristocracy. (landowning upper class) </li></ul><ul><li>They could control who voted and who could become MP’s (member of parliament) </li></ul>
  5. 5. What was society like in the 19 th Century?
  7. 7. A CLASS SOCIETY <ul><li>1. The Aristocracy </li></ul><ul><li>2. Professionals </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Scientists </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Physicians </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Attorneys </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Clergy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Literati </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Military Officers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>3. Merchants and Bankers </li></ul><ul><li>4. Tradespeople </li></ul><ul><li>5. Working Class </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Domestic Servants </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hired labor </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Apprentices </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Unemployed: debtors, beggars,thieves </li></ul></ul><ul><li>6. Peasants </li></ul>
  8. 8. Brawling peasants at Tyburn Gate, London. The Warder Collection . MORNING city bustle Peddlar hawking tarts. The Warder Collection. Large movements of people from the country to the cities. Shift from agrarian to urban lifestyles.
  9. 9. Poverty and Unemployment <ul><li>Displaced agrarian labor </li></ul><ul><li>No social safety net </li></ul><ul><li>Education only for those who could pay </li></ul><ul><li>Child labor </li></ul><ul><li>Cheap gin </li></ul><ul><li>Cholera </li></ul>Gin Lane (1751). Etching and Engraving by William Hogarth. ,The New York Public Library.
  10. 10. Was Britain democratic in 1850? <ul><li>4.16% of the British population could vote- this means that only four out of every 100 people could vote! </li></ul><ul><li>However 19thC Britain was changing rapidly. The industrial revolution was changing the structure of society and economy. </li></ul><ul><li>Landowners were no longer the sole creators of wealth </li></ul><ul><li>Middle class entrepreneurs, merchants, industrialists and traders argued they should have the vote as a natural consequence of their new economic power. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Attitudes of the time “ The British constitution is the best that ever was since the creation of the world, and it is not possible to make it any better.” Lord Braxfield 1793 “ Britain is land. It is therefore the right of the landowners – those who own the land of Britain- who deserve the right to govern. As long as the land lasts so does their commitment to sound government. The rabble? They own nothing of Britain and cannot be trusted.” The Duke of Wellington 1829
  12. 12. The 1832 Reform Act <ul><li>Before this act around 5,000 people in Scotland had the vote. </li></ul><ul><li>Afterwards this number rose to 60,000 </li></ul><ul><li>However the population of Scotland at this time was 2.6 million. </li></ul><ul><li>5 out of 6 males still could not vote. </li></ul><ul><li>The reform changes reflected changes caused by industrialisation and urbanisation. </li></ul><ul><li>The right of depopulated areas to elect an MP was taken away and busy towns got more MPs to represent them. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Results <ul><li>Working class people were disappointed </li></ul><ul><li>The vote was given to upper middleclass people who owned their own property </li></ul><ul><li>MPs were still unpaid and to be an MP you still had to own property. </li></ul><ul><li>Parliament was still dominated by wealthy property owners </li></ul><ul><li>There was no secret ballot so people could still be threatened and bribed </li></ul><ul><li>Britain was nowhere near being democratic. </li></ul><ul><li>It took 8 more reform Acts to achieve the democratic society we have today. </li></ul>
  14. 14. The Reform Acts <ul><li>1867 Parliamentary Reform Act </li></ul><ul><li>1872 Secret Ballot Act </li></ul><ul><li>1883 The Corrupt and Illegal Practices Act of 1883 </li></ul><ul><li>1884 Parliamentary Reform Act </li></ul><ul><li>1885 Redistribution of Seats Act </li></ul><ul><li>1911 Parliament Act </li></ul><ul><li>1918 Representation of the People Act </li></ul><ul><li>1928 Representation of the People Act </li></ul>
  15. 15. <ul><li>In mid-Victorian Britain, the electoral system which had been put in place by the 1832 parliamentary Reform Act was coming under increasing pressure. Society had undergone and was undergoing important changes. There was increased urbanisation and industrialisation throughout Britain and in general, society was experiencing significant change. </li></ul>
  16. 16. <ul><li>However, despite such change, the government of the country was still carried out by the middle and upper classes and was elected by a small minority of the population. As British society changed and developed, the question arose as to who had the right to control that society and whether there should be changes in the political system. </li></ul>
  17. 17. <ul><li>By the mid-1860s, pressure for political reform was building up in Britain and the years after 1850 saw the growth and expression of the working class voice in politics. There was a distinct drift of power to urban Britain from the rural areas and with this shift came the decline in power of the old land-owning aristocracy and the latter's power declined further with the spread of new political ideas and the changing political ideology of the country. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Effects of the Industrial Revolution <ul><li>The industrial revolution changed where people lived and how they worked. People began to question their position in society. </li></ul><ul><li>A new class emerged. The Middle class were those who created wealth through owning and running factories argued that they should have more of a say in running the country. </li></ul>
  19. 19. <ul><li>The development of basic education through charity schools and the availability of cheap news papers raised working class political awareness. </li></ul><ul><li>The spread of the Railways helped to create a national political identity as people met others from different areas and spoke of political issues and ideas. </li></ul><ul><li>There was less fear of a revolutionary mob as the skilled working class became more educated with many attending night school this led to more respect for the working classes. </li></ul><ul><li>The skilled working classes gained further respect when they took a pay cut rather than work with cotton that had been picked by slaves showing that they had a moral conscience and were not just a ‘mob’. </li></ul>
  20. 20. <ul><li>A skilled working class was vital for the economic success of Britain and therefore they needed to be looked after. </li></ul><ul><li>Increasing urbanisation led to pressure for the redistribution of parliamentary seats. 1867, 1885, 1918. </li></ul>
  21. 21. <ul><li>By the mid nineteenth century, political ideas of the right of individuals to express their opinions freely and the rights of adults to choose the government which ruled over them were becoming increasingly popular. </li></ul>
  22. 22. <ul><li>The American Civil War of 1861 to 1865 provided a stimulus to reform and renewed the debate of political rights in Britain. Popular enthusiasm for democratic sentiment grew with support for the Northern cause in the war. As the British government tended to support these moves elsewhere it seemed logical that such moves in Britain should also be supported. </li></ul>
  23. 23. <ul><li>Lincolns Gettysburg Address inspired many to call for a greater influence in the running of their country. </li></ul><ul><li>‘ -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.’ </li></ul>
  24. 24. Political change <ul><li>According to the historian D G Wright in his work Democracy and Reform which was published in 1970, &quot;Parliamentary reform was largely a reflection of changes in the economic and social structure of the country.&quot; So, what were the reasons why Britain became more democratic between 1867 and 1928? </li></ul>
  25. 25. Political recognition <ul><li>In 1864 Gladstone, the future Prime Minister, became a focus for attention when he declared that &quot;Every man who is not presumably incapacitated by some consideration of personal fitness or of political danger is morally entitled to come within the pale of the Constitution, provided this does not lead to sudden or violent or excessive, or intoxicating political change.&quot; </li></ul>
  26. 26. <ul><li>Public figures that supported political reform became very popular and caught the public imagination. The generally peaceful behaviour of skilled workers, their interest in political matters and their educational achievements were noted by Gladstone in 1866 when he stated that it would be unwise for Parliament to ignore the &quot;increased fitness of the working class for political power&quot;. </li></ul>
  27. 27. Reform movements <ul><li>In 1864 the National Reform Union was formed to promote the idea of common interests between the middle and working classes. It argued that the political aims of the two classes were similar and that they could work together in the field of politics. The organisation campaigned for the secret ballot, equal seat distribution and votes for all ratepayers, amongst other things. </li></ul>
  28. 28. <ul><li>Also founded in 1864 was the Reform League which was a much more radical movement, working for manhood suffrage and a secret ballot. The League attracted many followers, ranging from trade unionists, socialists and former Chartist sympathisers </li></ul><ul><li>There was a real fear that it might be dangerous to withhold the vote from the working classes after a demonstration at Hyde park turned into a riot in July 1866 </li></ul>
  29. 29. <ul><li>Within the Liberal Party, radicals believed that before further political reforms could be made Parliament would have to be changed. </li></ul>
  30. 30. Political advantage <ul><li>Politicians often believed they could gain political advantages from passing reforms </li></ul><ul><li>1867 Reform Act passed by the conservatives after being in opposition for many years arguably trying to win votes. </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Dish the Whigs by stealing the Liberals clothes.’ Conservatives believed that if they gave the vote to working class men in the towns then these men would vote conservative in future elections. In 1867 the Conservatives party stole many of the Liberals ideas (stole their clothes) and spoiled their chances of winning support from working class men. An old fashioned word for spoiling something is to dish it and an old name for the Liberals was Whig. </li></ul>
  31. 31. <ul><li>Liberal party also tried to gain political advantage. John Bright argued for the Secret ballot to free the working class electorate from fear of retaliation by bosses and landlords. </li></ul><ul><li>Corrupt and Illegal Practices Act: it is possible to ague that it was a pragmatic move by the Liberals. By limiting the amount spent on elections they might reduce advantages held by wealthier conservatives </li></ul><ul><li>Reforms of 1880s could be argued that they served as a distraction from foreign policy problems facing Liberal government (Ireland ~refusal of tenants to pay rent to English landlords) </li></ul><ul><li>Redistribution of Seats Act Liberals hoped for political advantage from urban voters now being more fairly represented. </li></ul>
  32. 32. <ul><li>By the end of the nineteenth century the trade union movement was gaining pace. Many Liberals saw the unions as direct competition for the support of the working classes. As membership of the trade union movement grew, some Liberals thought the only way to win back this support was through democratic reform. </li></ul>
  33. 33. Socialism <ul><li>By the 1870s, many trade unionists supported a new ideology called socialism which appeared to offer a brighter future for the working class. Socialists believed that industrialisation had made life better for the rich but worse for the poor people. Marxists and some of the more militant socialists believed that the only way this unfair system could be changed would be by an act of violent revolution. </li></ul>
  34. 34. <ul><li>As such, socialism was seen by many landowners and businessmen as a real threat to their interests. If large numbers of people were denied the vote then they might be attracted to such new dangerous political ideologies. Thus, by including more of the working class in the political system they might be more easily controlled and less likely to support such revolutionary ideas. </li></ul>
  35. 35. The Labour Party <ul><li>By the end of the nineteenth century, trade unions recognised that they needed a voice in Parliament if they wanted to change the political nature of Britain. A series of anti-union laws had been passed which weakened the position of trade unions and in 1900 the unions agreed to use some of their funds to set up a new organisation called the Labour Representation Committee, this being named the Labour Party after 1906. </li></ul>
  36. 36. <ul><li>The party was initially set up to represent the interests of the trade unions and their members in Parliament. During the early years of the twentieth century the Labour Party grew steadily in influence. In the 1906 general election it had 29 MPs elected to Parliament. Four years later it managed 42 MPs. After WWI, the Labour Party changed from being purely the political wing of the trade unions to being a broader political party along the lines of the two other parties - the Liberals and the Conservatives. By 1922, the Labour Party had successfully become the Opposition party to the Conservative government. </li></ul>
  37. 37. World War I <ul><li>World War 1 influenced the growth of democracy in Britain also. There had been plans to change the rules about voting as they applied to men during the war and it was suggested that some women might be included in the proposals. Further, during the war Herbert Asquith was replaced by David Lloyd George as Prime Minister, the latter being more sympathetic to votes for women. It can be argued that the war acted as a catalyst towards democratic reform in Britain. </li></ul>
  38. 38. Essay Plan Why was there a move towards a more democratic parliament in Britain after 1850? Social and Economic Change Political Reform no longer a threat American Civil War Changing ideology and attitudes Industrial revolution Middle classes Education Spread of ideas Respect for artisans Urbanisation WW1 Playing for political advantage ‘ Dish the Whigs..’ steal reform ideas to steal votes Secret Ballot~ remove intimidation Corrupt and Illegal practices~limit the amount spent on elections reduce advantage of rich conservatives Reforms of 1880s distraction from foreign policy problems facing liberal government Redistribution of seats ~ Liberals hoped for votes from urban voters. Popular pressure Impact of Reform movements Fear of Revolution Women campaign for the vote