Second Reform Act - Representation of the People Act (198 words)

Historical Context Note

  • Editors

The pressure for parliamentary reform in Britain had been evident since the Chartist movement of 1838-48 but despite the enormous demographic changes that resulted from the growth of the cities, no reform had taken place since the Reform Act of 1832.

In the 1860s, the champions of reform were William Gladstone and his Liberals, but when he attempted to pass a bill through parliament in 1866 it was savaged by Conservatives and Liberals alike as too modest and ineffectual. Gladstone's government fell, provoking working-class unrest and the Hyde Park Riots. Disraeli and the Conservatives formed the new government and tried to steal the Liberal's clothes by introducing a Bill of their own. As it was debated in the House most of …

Editors. "Second Reform Act - Representation of the People Act". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 01 April 2005
[, accessed 27 October 2016.]