Democratic Reform and Activism - Lakeland Central School District

Democratic Reform and
Changes in the
Reforms in Britain
• Rapid industrialization brought new
problems unforeseen by the government
• Greater wealth for the upper classes but
no increase in wealth or political power for
the working classes brought resentment
• Changes had to be to be made if
revolution was to be avoided
Reforms in Britain
• By 1800 only 5% of British population
could vote (males, not females)
• Britain was a constitutional monarchy in
name but in practice was an aristocracy
• There needed to be some changes and
the lower classes needed more political
voice if revolution was to be avoided
Reform Bill of 1832
• Wealthy middle class demanded changes
• They demanded suffrage for themselves,
not for lower classes or for women
• Revolution in France in 1830 scared
Parliament & the upper classes
Reform Bill of 1832
• Property restrictions for voting relaxed for
upper middle class
• New election districts created
• “Rotten Boroughs” eliminated
• Industrial cities received more
representation in Parliament
Rotten Bouroughs
• a parliamentary borough or constituency in
the United Kingdom that had a very small
electorate and could be used by a patron
to gain undue and unrepresentative
influence within Parliament.
The Chartist Movement
• Reforms of 1832 were not enough to make
the workers happy & more changes were
• The People’s Charter (1838) was
presented to Parliament
• The movement called Chartist Movement
The People’s Charter
Universal male suffrage
Annual parliamentary elections
Demanded secret ballot
Demanded end to property requirements
for membership in Parliament
• Demanded Parliament be paid for service
The People’s Charter
• Parliament rejected the Charter
• Why do you suppose they rejected it?
• Some Chartists even arrested and sent to
Australia as punishment
• Changes would eventually be made as a
result but it would take more time
• Parliament extended the vote to workingclass men in 1867, rural working men in
1884 and by 1900 virtually all males in
Britain (save for criminals and the insane)
had the vote
• Women would not get the vote in Britain
(or the US) until 1920
The Dreyfus Affair
• CPT Alfred Dreyfus was a French Jew
accused of selling secrets to the Germans
• He was convicted with forged evidence &
sentenced to life
• The reason for Dreyfus’ conviction was
• A form of nationalism
• Movement led by Theodore Herzl
• The idea was to escape the anti-Semitism
of Europe and return to Palestine to create
a homeland for Jews (Israel)
• Movement had little traction until 1945
The Irish
• The English have dominated Ireland since
the 12th century
• 16th & 17th centuries saw harsh oppression
of Irish language, culture & the Catholic
• Ireland formally joined to Britain in 1801 &
received representation in Parliament
The Irish
• Catholic Emancipation Act passed 1829 to
restore rights to Catholics
• Potato Famine of the 1840s resulted in
deaths of more than 1.5 million people &
the immigration of more than 2 million
The Irish
• In the 17th and 18th centuries, Irish
Catholics had been prohibited by the penal
laws from owning land, from leasing land;
from voting, from holding political office;
from obtaining education, from entering a
profession, and from doing many other
things that are necessary in order to
succeed and prosper in life.
The Irish
• February 1845: "It would be impossible
adequately to describe the privations
which they [Irish laborer & his family]
habitually and silently endure . . . in many
districts their only food is the potato, their
only beverage water . . . their cabins are
seldom a protection against the weather...
a bed or a blanket is a rare luxury . . . and
nearly in all their pig and a manure heap
constitute their only property."
The Irish
• Ireland was 80% Catholic
• Most large landowners were English
Protestants who hired “middlemen” to
collects rents from tenants
• Middlemen leased lands from landlords &
sub-divided these lands to collect more
The Irish
• Holdings were so small that only
potatoes—no other crop—would suffice to
feed a family
• Two-thirds of population depended on
agriculture for their survival, but they rarely
received a working wage
• When the blight hit, there was no way the
poor could feed themselves
The Irish
• Crop loss in 1845 has been estimated at a
high of 50%
• In 1846 three-quarters of the harvest was
lost to blight
• 1848 yields would be only two thirds of
• As over 3 million Irish people were totally
dependent on potatoes for food, famine
was inevitable
Irish Home Rule
• The famine, the penal laws, the antiCatholic bias all convinced many Irish to
support the cause of Home Rule
• British feared losing Ireland completely &
• 1914: plans for Irish Home Rule scrapped
because of WWI
Irish Home Rule
• 1916 Easter Rising: Irish nationalists
started a revolt that was crushed by the
British with the leaders being executed
• Irish nationalists refused to give up &
formed the Irish Republican Army (IRA)
• IRA attacks sparked war between Irish
nationalists & Britain
Irish Home Rule
• 1921: British negotiated with IRA and
granted Ireland Home Rule for only the 26
southern counties
• New state called Irish Free State
• 6 Northern counties, heavily Protestant,
stayed with Britain
• Irish nationalist extremists provoked a civil
war over the partial Home Rule
Irish Home Rule
• Free State (Ireland) declared its
independence from Britain in 1949
• Britain still controls northern counties
called Ulster or Northern Ireland
• Most of the 20th century in Ireland has
seen violence committed by both sides
• Good Friday Agreement of 1998 signaled
new peaceful phase in Ireland