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Historical Background:

Period of reforms after repressive policy of the early 19th century.

With William of Orange the Parliament for the first time chose the king.

Reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901): we have a 424j97e constitutional monarchy. She was very popular, respected and balanced. She respected the moral code of the middle-class. She was an example for everybody.

In this period there is a material progress, imperial expansion, political and constitutional developments. Consolidation of constitutional monarchy. She shared the strict respectable code of behaviour of middle class.

First decade dominated by two political tendencies: campaign for free trade and the birth of Chartism.

Chartism(1839): consequence of Reform of Act (1832): universal suffrage, vote by ballot, annual parliaments, abolition of property qualification.

First reform bill/act (1832): abolished rotten boroughs, redistributed seats on a more equitable basis, extended franchise to male householders in property worth 10 (property qualification).

Rotten boroughs: with industrialisation there is a movement from country to towns, but the percentage of people in the parliament is the same. In this way there are some places that aren't equally represented in the parliament. There's corruption.

Second reform bill (1867): right to vote extended to town labourers (only to middle-class); abolished the property qualification.

Third reform bill (1884): the right to vote is extended to every male (also agricultural and miners).

The Fabian Society (1884): inspired by Marxist theories, advocated gradual reform instead of drastic measures.

Foreign policy: climax of the British empire, enlargements of Indian territories, opium war (consequence: annexation of Hong Kong), the Boer war (1899-1902).

Crimean war: birth of Red Cross. Change the role in society of women. Women start to ask the right to vote (obtained in 1928).

Jingoism: belief in the right to an empire and that imperial expansion would absorb excess goods, capital and population. Britain felt to spread its civilisation all over the world; they consider themselves more important than others.


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