The people of Britain were unhappy during the early part of the 1800s because they did not have enough of a say in voting and who was sent to parliament to represent their views. During this time there was a lot of corruption and unfair processes taking place in the voting system. Because of this the lower classes of society rioted and protested, hoping to bring change to the system. They wanted less corruption, a fairer vote and more people to get to vote. The Reform Act was passed in 1832.
AT this time Britain was undergoing the Industrial Revolution. The Industrial Revolution is where new machines, powered by steam or water, were invented and built to produce a lot of products at a quicker and cheaper rate than manual labour. Lots of jobs sprung up around these factories so towns and cities grew. This meant that lots of new industrial towns were built; because they were new they did not have an MP to represent the views of a lot of people. The reform act added MPs to lots of the new cities, therefore representing more people’s views.
Another problem was the Rotten Boroughs. These are constituencies that due to size and population can be controlled easily by who owns the land or can bribe the most. For example Old Sarum in Wiltshire had 3 houses and 11 voters. So would be very easy to control. Because there a few voters, to get more than half to vote for you only need to bribe or influence 6 people to vote for you. If you own the land they will almost be forced to vote for the MP because they own your house. This means that you will easily win this area. These were abolished in the Reform Act.
Another example is a Pocket Borough. This is a constituency that is open to corruption; the votes went to the highest bidder. The Reform Act did not abolish these corrupt constituencies.
Another problem with the voting system was casting the vote itself. Voters had to cast their votes in the open in front of others. This meant that the MP could intimidate the voters to votes for them and can tell if they don’t, so the voter would be in trouble if they didn’t do what they were told. This way of voting still took place after the Bill was passed.
The amount of people who could vote before 1832 was only 3% after 11% could vote, this shows that a lot more people could vote, but still not very many.
In conclusion, this shows that the Reform act changed a lot in the way MPs were sent to parliament. The Rotten Boroughs, the amount of people who could vote and more MPs representing the new cities. However, after voting was still open, still only a few more people could vote all in the upper classes, women still couldn’t vote the poor and working class couldn’t vote. The Reform act did change some things but not enough to make the electoral system fair.