Documents on the Nineteenth Century United Kingdom Constitution  book cover
1st Edition

Documents on the Nineteenth Century United Kingdom Constitution

Edited By

Andrew Blick

  • Available for pre-order on June 20, 2023. Item will ship after July 11, 2023
ISBN 9780367417598
July 11, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
639 Pages

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Book Description

This four-volume collection presents a range of documents related to aspects of the constitutional history of the United Kingdom (UK), covering the ‘long’ nineteenth century. It examines material dating from the period of the American and French revolutions through to the advent of an equal franchise for men and women.

During the long nineteenth century, the country passed through immense socio-economic changes. It underwent internal strains involving its multinational composition. It became the dominant global power, then saw that position become subject to various challenges. These tendencies helped generate sustained and wide-ranging controversy about how the country should govern itself. They also helped produce a series of important changes in the nature of the constitution. At the outset of the long nineteenth century, only a tiny proportion of the population were allowed to vote; and an hereditary monarch remained an active political figure. By the end, democratic ideas and practices had achieved ascendancy. Yet in other ways, the constitution retained some long-established characteristics.

The purpose of these volumes is to support research into and understanding of these tendencies. They will enable readers to approach concepts such as democracy and constitutional change from a critical standpoint, evaluating existing interpretations and encouraging the consideration of possible different conclusions. The collection will encourage consideration of matters such as paths that were not taken, what resistance there was to change, how particular outcomes came about, and the compromises involved. It will also facilitate comparison between constitutional ideals and realities.

Table of Contents

Documents on the Nineteenth Century United Kingdom Constitution

Edited by Andrew Blick

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’




Volume II: People, Parties and Politicians

General Introduction

Volume 2 Introduction

Part 1. Perspectives

1. Mary Woolstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman

2. Lord Byron, ‘Framework Bill’

3. Alfred Tennyson, ‘You Ask Me Why, Tho’ Ill at East’

4. Karl Marx, ‘The British Constitution’

5. Benjamin Disraeli, speech at Crystal Palace, 24 June 1872

6. William Morris, ‘Concerning Government’

7. J. A. Hobson, ‘The Crisis of Liberalism: New Issues of Democracy’

Part 2. Campaigns and groups

8. Society for Constitutional Information

9. The London Corresponding Society’s Regulations

10. Percy Bysshe Shelley, ‘Masque of Anarchy’,

11. Thomas Duncombe, ‘The People’s Charter – Petition’

12. Address of the Committee to the People of England, Administrative Reform Association

13. Charles Watts, ‘Secularism in its Various Relations’

14. Christabel Pankhurst, ‘The Militant Methods of the NWSPU’

15. Chrystal Macmillan, ‘The Struggle for Political Liberty’

Part 3. Representation

16. Admission of Baron de Rothschild

17. Sir Mancherjee Bhownaggree, ‘Indian Taxation’

18. Viscountess (Nancy) Astor, ‘Liquor Traffic (Restrictions)’

19. Margaret Wintringham, ‘Royal Parks and Pleasure Gardens’

20. Shapurji Saklatvala, ‘Debate on the Address’

21. Margaret Bondfield, ‘Debate on the Address’

22. Eleanor Rathbone, ‘Housing (Revision of Contributions) Bill’

23. Marion Phillips, ‘Annual Holiday Bill’

Part 4. Rights and freedoms

24. Charles James Fox, ‘Religious Liberty’,

25. A Habeas Corpus Suspension Act, 1794

26. The Case of Wolf Tone,

27. Combination Act 1800

28. Richard Sheridan, ‘Standing Order for the Exclusion of Strangers’

29. Sir Samuel Romilly, ‘Habeas Corpus Suspension Bill’

30. Repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts 1828

31. Roman Catholic Emancipation Act, 1829

32. Edward Lytton Bulwer, ‘Newspaper Stamp Duties’

33. Charles Bradlaugh, ‘Public Meetings in the Metropolis’

34. (Industrial action) Taff Vale Case, decision of Mr. Justice Farewell

35. Aliens Act, 1905

36. Lord Loreburn, ‘Trade Disputes Bill’

37. Cinematograph Act, 1909

38. Official Secrets Act, 1911

39. Defence of the Realm Act, 1914

40. Emergency Powers Act, 1920

41. Report of the Broadcasting Committee

42. Ellen Wilkinson, ‘Trade Disputes and Trade Unions Bill’


Volume III: Institutions

General Introduction

Volume 3 Introduction

Part 1. Monarchs and Administrations

1. Samuel Romilly, ‘Change of Administration’

2. Lord Erskine, ‘Change of Administration’

3. Robert Peel, ‘The Address’

4. Lord John Russell, ‘Address in Answer to the Speech’

5. Walter Bagehot, ‘The English Constitution’

6. Austin Holyoake, ‘Would a Republican Form of Government Be Suitable to England?’

7. Lord Curzon, ‘Parliament Bill – Vote of Censure’

Part 2. The Prime Minister

8. Lord Melville to Mr. Addington

9. Sir Robert Peel, Lord Rosebery

10. Sidney Low, ‘The Governance of England’

11. The Prime Minister’s Precedence, J.S. (‘Jack) Sandars to Lord Knollys

12. Chequers Estate Act, 1917

Part 3. Cabinet

13. George Canning to Lord Malmesbury

14. Lord Castlereagh, ‘Lord Ellenborough’s Seat in the Cabinet’

15. Walter Bagehot, ‘The English Constitution’

16. Minutes of a Meeting of the War Cabinet

17. Draft Rules of Procedure for the War Cabinet


Part 4. Administrations and Mandates

18. Benjamin Disraeli, ‘Commercial Policy’

19. Sir Robert Peel, ‘Resignation of the Ministry’

20. William Gladstone, ‘Defeat of the Government on the Irish Church Resolutions’

21. Marquess of Hartington, ‘Government of Ireland Bill’

Part 5. Civil Service and Machinery of Government

22. Report on the Organisation of the Permanent Civil Service

23. Charles Dickens, Little Dorrit

24. Anthony Trollope, An Autobiography

25. Report of the Machinery of Government Committee (‘Haldane’ report), 1918

26. Subcommittee Appointed to Consider the Position after the War of Women Holding Temporary Appointments in Government Departments

Part 6. Parliament

6. 1 General

27. Edmund Burke, ‘Economical Reform’

28. Sir Robert Peel, ‘Resignation of Ministers’

29. Sir Robert Peel, ‘Confidence in the Ministry’

30. Earl of Rosebery, ‘Motion for a Select Committee (House of Lords Reform)’

31. A. V. Dicey, Law of the Constitution (the Sovereignty of Parliament)

32. A. J. Balfour, ‘New Procedure Rules (for the House of Commons)’

33. Earl of Clarendon, ‘House of Lords Reform’

6.2 Commons-Lords Relations

34. Earl Grey, ‘Ministerial Arrangements’

35. Lord Chelmsford, ‘Paper Duty Repeal Bill’

36. Lord Salisbury, ‘Irish Church Bill’

37. Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, ‘Education (England and Wales) Bill’

38. Herbert Henry Asquith, ‘Parliament Bill’

39. Ramsey MacDonald, ‘Parliament Bill’

40. Parliament Act, 1911

Part 7. Local Government

41. Municipal Corporations Act, 1835

42. Lydia Becker, ‘The Rights and Duties of Women in Local Government’

43. Local Government Act, 1888

44. London Government Act, 1899

Part 8. The Courts and the Legal System

45. Judicial Committee Act, 1833

46. County Courts Act, 1846

47. Appellate Jurisdiction Act, 1876

48. Supreme Court of Judicature Act, 1873



Volume IV: Nations and Empire

General Introduction

Volume 4 Introduction

Part 1. Independence, Revolution and War

1. American Declaration of Independence

2. Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France

3. Mary Woolstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Men

4. Thomas Paine, The Rights of Man, Part One

5. Hannah More, Village Politics

Part 2. Imperial and External Policy

6. Olaudah Equiano, Equiano’s Travels

7. An Act for the Abolition of the Slave Trade

8. Te Tiriti O Waitangi/The Treaty of Waitangi

9. Sir William Molesworth, ‘The Australian Colonies’

10. William Gladstone, ‘New Zealand Government Bill’

11. Report on the Indian Civil Service

12. Government of India Act, 1858

13. Colonial Laws Validity Act, 1865

14. John Seeley, ‘The United States of Europe’

15. Henry Richard, ‘National Engagements’

16. Report of the Special Committee of the League, Imperial Federation

17. Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act, 1900

18. Peace of Vereeniging

19. Arthur Ponsonby, ‘Parliament and Foreign Policy’

20. Mahatma Gandhi, statement at trial Ahmadabad


Part 3. Nations and Union

21. An Act for the Union with Ireland, 1800

22. An Act for Restoring Order in Ireland, 1803

23. Daniel O’Connell, speech at Mullaghmast, 1 October 1843

24. Isaac Butt, ‘Home Government for Ireland: Irish Federalism! Its Meaning, Its Objects and Its Hopes’

25. Secretary for Scotland Act, 1885

26. W. E. Gladstone, ‘Government of Ireland Bill’

27. Thomas Waring, ‘Government of Ireland Bill’

28. Charles Parnell, ‘Government of Ireland Bill’

29. Joseph Chamberlain, ‘Government of Ireland Bill’

30. W. Mitchell, ‘Home Rule for Scotland’ 

31. W. Llewelyn Williams, ‘Cymru Fydd: Its Aims and Objects’

32. James Joyce, ‘The Death of Parnell’

33. Government of Ireland Act, 1914

34. Welsh Church Act, 1914

35. 1916 Proclamation (of the Provisional Government of the Irish Republic)

36. Major Edward Wood, ‘Creation of Subordinate Legislatures’

37. Government of Ireland Act, 1920

38. Anglo Irish Treaty, Articles of Agreement


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