1st Edition

Documents on the Nineteenth Century United Kingdom Constitution Volume I: Reform

Edited By Andrew Blick Copyright 2023

    This volume explores constitutional reform, and in particular expansions in the franchise. It presents evidence covering the origins of these transitions and the subsequent development of demands for reform. It also deals with other changes such as the secret ballot. The volume examines accounts of the debates that took place about the merits of reform and the form it should take if enacted. It includes evidence of the party-political considerations and tactical motivations leading to reforms; and the way in which various individuals and groups received them once enacted. The volume also presents evidence of the limits of change and the persistence of certain traditional aspects of the constitution.

    Volume I: Reform

    General Introduction

    Volume 1 Introduction

    Part 1. 1776 - 1832

    1. John Wilkes, ‘Parliamentary Reform’

    2. John Cartwright, Take Your Choice! Representation and Respect, Imposition and Contempt

    3. William Pitt, ‘Reform of the Franchise’

    4. William Pitt, ‘Reform of the Franchise’

    5. Thomas Spence, The Constitution of Spenconia,

    6. Jeremy Bentham, Parliamentary Reform Catechism

    7. William Cobbett, To the Journeymen of England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland

    8. Lord John Russell, ‘Parliamentary Reform’

    9. Sir Robert Peel MP, ‘Parliamentary Reform’

    10. Duke of Wellington, ‘Parliamentary Reform’

    11. Henry Hunt, ‘Rights of Women’

    12. Reform Act, 1832

    Part 2. 1832 - 1884

    13. Petition Agreed to at the Crown and Anchor meeting, 28 February 1837

    14. George Grote, ‘The Ballot’

    15. Marion Reid, ‘A Plea For Woman’

    16. Benjamin Disraeli, ‘Reform’

    17. Edward Baines, ‘Borough Franchise Bill’

    18. William Gladstone, ‘Borough Franchise Bill’

    19. William Gladstone, ‘Representation of the People Bill’

    20. Mrs Bodichon Reasons for the Enfranchisement of Women

    21. J. S. Mill, ‘Suffrage’

    22. Reform Act, 1867

    23. George Eliot, ‘(Fictitious) Address to Working Men, by "Felix Holt"’

    24. Thomas Hare, ‘Machinery of Representation’

    25. The Ballot Act, 1872

    26. Millicent Fawcett, ‘Women’s Suffrage’

    27. W. E. Gladstone, ‘Representation of the People Amendment Bill’

    28. Representation of the People Act 1884


    Part 3. 1884-1928

    29. Albert Venn Dicey, ‘Ought the Referendum to be Introduced into England?’

    30. Mrs Pankhurst, ‘The Importance of the Vote’

    31. John Humphreys, ‘A Study in Methods of Election’

    32. Lord Balfour of Burleigh, ‘Reference to the People Bill’

    33. Earl of Crewe, ‘Reference to the People Bill’

    34. Violet Markham, ‘Woman’s Sphere’


    35. Joseph Compton-Rickett, ‘Representation of the People (Women) Bill’

    36. Philip Snowden, ‘Representation of the People (Women) Bill’

    37. Conference on Electoral Reform, Letter from Mr. Speaker to the Prime Minister

    38. Parliament (Qualification of Women) Act 1918

    39. Representation of the People Act 1918

    40. Sir William Joynson Hicks, ‘Representation of the People (Equal Franchise) Bill’

    41. Brigadier-General Sir George Cockerill, ‘Representation of the People (Equal Franchise) Bill’

    42. Ellen Wilkinson, ‘Representation of the People (Equal Franchise) Bill’

    43. Margaret Bondfield, ‘Representation of the People (Equal Franchise) Bill’

    44. Viscountess (Nancy) Astor, ‘Representation of the People (Equal Franchise) Bill’

    45. Stanley Baldwin, ‘Representation of the People (Equal Franchise) Bill’

    46. Representation of the People (Equal Franchise) Act 1928, Polling Districts and Places

    47. Virginia Woolf, ‘A Room of One’s Own’



    Professor Andrew Blick is Head of the Department of Political Economy and Professor of Politics and Contemporary History at Kings College London, UK.