Was the 1932 Reform Act a Conservative Measure with Limited Effect?

In: Historical Events

Submitted By SebastianPasha
Words 865
Pages 4
Sebastian A. P. Pasha 2nd February 2015

Do you agree the 1932 Reform Act was a conservative measure with limited effect? The statement that the 1932 Reform Act was a conservative measure with limited effect is correct only to a certain extent. Although it did remove the electoral rights from most of the oddities that were rotten boroughs, and give representation to growing cities such as Leeds and Manchester; it resulted in little improvement on the lives of the working class and merely benefitted the middle class.

The Great Reform Act of 1832 was passed under a Whig government. They benefitted enormously from the old system of politics, and therefore did not want large amounts of change, simply enough to quell the country’s thirst for revolution. They also needed to get the wealthy middle class on their side, thereby not simply reflecting the wishes of the aristocracy. This is highlighted in Source 1 is before the Great Reform Act is established, and it outlines Prime Minister Grey’s intentions. He simply states that ‘if any persons suppose that this reform will lead to ulterior measures, they are mistaken’. He reassures his peers that the bill would not bring about any dramatic changes, as the current system benefitted them (and him) the most, bringing them significant wealth and influence. The bill was simply a way to satisfy the masses without giving too much ground, and to ‘put an end to such hopes and projects’. Therefore it was a conservative measure designed to have limited effects and bring about minimal change while keeping the public (and perhaps a revolution) at bay. This is a point where both Source 1 and 3 coincide; they both believe the measure allowed ‘Britain alone of the advanced nations of Western Europe to avoid political revolution in the 1830s and 1840s’. On the other hand, it may be seen that he is simply reassuring his peers,…...

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