Reform Act 1832
The Representation of the People Act 1832 was an Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom that introduced wide-ranging changes to the electoral system of England and Wales. According to its preamble, the Act was designed to "take effectual Measures for correcting divers Abuses that have long prevailed in the Choice of Members to serve in the Commons House of Parliament". Before the reform, most members nominally represented boroughs; the number of electors in a borough varied from a dozen or so up to 12,000. The selection of MPs was controlled by one powerful patron: for example Charles Howard, 11th Duke of Norfolk, controlled eleven boroughs. Criteria for qualification for the franchise varied among boroughs, from the requirement to own land, to living in a house with a hearth sufficient to boil a pot. There had been calls for reform long without success; the Act that succeeded was proposed by the Whigs, led by Prime Minister Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey. It met with significant opposition from the Pittite factions in Parliament, who had long governed the country.
The bill was passed as a result of public pressure. The Act granted seats in the House of Commons to large cities that had sprung up during the Industrial Revolution, removed seats from the "rotten boroughs": those with small electorates and dominated by a wealthy patron; the Act increased the electorate from about 400,000 to 650,000, making about one in five adult males eligible to vote. The full title is An Act to amend the representation of the people in Wales, its formal short title and citation is "Representation of the People Act 1832". The Act applied only in Wales; the separate Scottish Reform Act 1832 was revolutionary, enlarging the electorate by a factor of 1300% from 5000 to 65,000. After the Acts of Union 1800 became law on 1 January 1801, the unreformed House of Commons was composed of 658 members, of whom 513 represented England and Wales. There were two types of constituencies. County members were supposed to represent landholders, while borough members were supposed to represent the mercantile and trading interests of the kingdom.
Counties were historical national subdivisions established between the 16th centuries. They were not parliamentary constituencies; the members of Parliament chosen by the counties were known as Knights of the Shire. In Wales each county elected one member, while in England each county elected two members until 1826, when Yorkshire's representation was increased to four, following the disenfranchisement of the Cornish borough of Grampound. Parliamentary boroughs in England ranged in size from small hamlets to large cities because they had evolved haphazardly; the earliest boroughs were chosen in the Middle Ages by county sheriffs, a village might be deemed a borough. Many of these early boroughs were substantial settlements at the time of their original enfranchisement, but went into decline, by the early 19th century some only had a few electors, but still elected two MPs. In centuries the reigning monarch decided which settlements to enfranchise; the monarchs seem to have done so capriciously with little regard for the merits of the place they were enfranchising.
Of the 70 English boroughs that Tudor monarchs enfranchised, 31 were disenfranchised. The parliamentarians of the 17th century compounded the inconsistencies by re-enfranchising 15 boroughs whose representation had lapsed for centuries, seven of which were disenfranchised by the Reform Act. After Newark was enfranchised in 1661, no additional boroughs were enfranchised, the unfair system remained unchanged until the Reform Act of 1832. Grampound's disenfranchisement in 1821 was the sole exception. Most English boroughs elected two MPs; the City of London and the joint borough of Weymouth and Melcombe Regis each elected four members. The Welsh boroughs each returned a single member. Statutes passed in 1430 and 1432, during the reign of Henry VI, standardised property qualifications for county voters. Under these Acts, all owners of freehold property or land worth at least forty shillings in a particular county were entitled to vote in that county; this requirement, known as the forty shilling freehold, was never adjusted for inflation.
The franchise was restricted to males by custom rather than statute. The vast majority of people were not entitled to vote. Furthermore, the sizes of the individual county constituencies varied significantly; the smallest counties and Anglesey, had fewer than 1,000 voters each, while the largest county, had more than 20,000. Those who owned property in multiple constituencies could vote multiple times. In boroughs the franchise was far more varied. There were broadly six types of parliamenta
Reform Act 1867
The Representation of the People Act 1867, 30 & 31 Vict. c. 102 was a piece of British legislation that enfranchised part of the urban male working class in England and Wales for the first time. It received Royal Assent by the British Crown on August 15, 1867, following its passage by UK Parliament to take enactment in stages over the next couple of years, culminating in full enactment on January 1, 1869. Before the Act, only one million of the seven million adult males in England and Wales could vote. Moreover, by the end of 1868 all male heads of household were enfranchised as a result of the end of compounding of rents. However, the Act introduced only a negligible redistribution of seats; the overall intent was to help the Conservative Party, yet it resulted in their loss of the 1868 general election. For the decades after the Great Reform Act of 1832, cabinets had resisted attempts to push through further reform, in particular left unfulfilled the six demands of the Chartist movement. After 1848, this movement declined and elite opinion began to change.
It was thus only 28 years after the initial, quite modest, Great Reform Act that leading politicians thought it prudent to introduce further electoral reform. Lord John Russell, who in 1861 became the first Earl Russell, attempted this in 1860; when Palmerston died in 1865, the floodgates for reform were opened. The Union victory in the American Civil War in 1865 emboldened the forces in Britain that demanded more democracy and public input into the political system, to the dismay of the upper class landed gentry who identified with the US Southern States planters and feared the loss of influence and a popular radical movement. Influential commentators included Walter Bagehot, Thomas Carlyle, Anthony Trollope, Karl Marx and John Stuart Mill. In 1866, the Prime Minister, Lord Russell, introduced a Reform Bill, it was a cautious bill, which proposed to enfranchise "respectable" working men, excluding unskilled workers and what was known as the "residuum", those seen by MPs as the "feckless and criminal" poor.
This was ensured by a £7 householder qualification, calculated to require an income of 26 shillings a week. This entailed two "fancy franchises," emulating measures of 1854, a £10 lodger qualification for the boroughs, a £50 savings qualification in the counties. Liberals claimed that'the middle classes, strengthened by the best of the artisans, would still have the preponderance of power'; when it came to the vote, this bill split the Liberal Party: a split engineered by Benjamin Disraeli, who incited those threatened by the bill to rise up against it. On one side were the reactionary conservative Liberals, known as the Adullamites; the Adullamites were supported by Tories and the liberal Whigs were supported by radicals and reformists. The bill was thus defeated and the Liberal government of Russell resigned; the Conservatives formed a ministry on 26 June 1866, led by Lord Derby as Prime Minister and Disraeli as Chancellor of the Exchequer. They were faced with the challenge of reviving Conservatism: Palmerston, the powerful Liberal leader, was dead and the Liberal Party split and defeated.
Thanks to manoeuvring by Disraeli, Derby's Conservatives saw an opportunity to be a strong, viable party of government. The Adullamites, led by Robert Lowe, had been working with the Conservative Party; the Adullamites were anti-reform, as were the Conservatives, but the Adullamites declined the invitation to enter into Government with the Conservatives as they thought that they could have more influence from an independent position. Despite the fact that he had blocked the Liberal Reform Bill, in February 1867, Disraeli introduced his own Reform Bill into the House of Commons. By this time the attitude of many in the country had ceased to be apathetic regarding reform of the House of Commons. Huge meetings the ‘Hyde Park riots', the feeling that many of the skilled working class were respectable, had persuaded many that there should be a Reform Bill. However, wealthy Conservative MP Lord Cranborne resigned his government ministry in disgust at the bill's introduction; the Reform League, agitating for universal suffrage, became much more active, organized demonstrations of hundreds of thousands of people in Manchester and other towns.
Though these movements did not use revolutionary language as some Chartists had in the 1840s, they were powerful movements. The high point came. Thousands of troops and policemen were prepared, but the crowds were so huge that the government did not dare to attack; the Home Secretary, Spencer Walpole, was forced to resign. Faced with the possibility of popular revolt going much further, the government included into the bill amendments which enfranchised far more people; the bill was more far-reaching than any Members of Parliament had thought possible or wanted. An amendment tabled by the opposition trebled the new number entitled to vote under the bill; the bill enfranchised most men. The final proposals were as follows: a borough franchise for all who paid rates in person, extra votes
Balfour Declaration of 1926
The Balfour Declaration of 1926, issued by the 1926 Imperial Conference of British Empire leaders in London, was named after Lord President of the Council Arthur Balfour. It declared the United Kingdom and the Dominions to be:... autonomous Communities within the British Empire, equal in status, in no way subordinate one to another in any aspect of their domestic or external affairs, though united by a common allegiance to the Crown, associated as members of the British Commonwealth of Nations. The Inter-Imperial Relations Committee, chaired by Balfour, drew up the document preparatory to its unanimous approval by the imperial premiers on 15 November 1926, it was first proposed by South African Prime Minister J. B. M. Hertzog and Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King; the Declaration accepted the growing political and diplomatic independence of the Dominions in the years after World War I. It recommended that the governors-general, the representatives of the King who acted for the Crown as de facto head of state in each dominion, should no longer serve automatically as the representative of the British government in diplomatic relations between the countries.
In following years, High Commissioners were appointed, whose duties were soon recognised to be identical to those of an ambassador. The first such British High Commissioner was appointed to Ottawa in 1928; the conclusions of the imperial premiers conference of 1926 were re-stated by the 1930 conference and incorporated in the Statute of Westminster of December 1931, by which the British parliament renounced any legislative authority over dominion affairs, except as provided in law. Transcript of the Declaration
Constitution Act, 1867
The Constitution Act, 1867 is a major part of Canada's Constitution. The Act created a federal dominion and defines much of the operation of the Government of Canada, including its federal structure, the House of Commons, the Senate, the justice system, the taxation system; the British North America Acts, including this Act, were renamed in 1982 with the patriation of the Constitution. Amendments were made at this time: section 92A was added, giving provinces greater control over non-renewable natural resources; the Act begins with a preamble declaring that the three provinces New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and the Province of Canada have requested to form "one Dominion...with a Constitution similar in Principle to that of the United Kingdom". This description of the Constitution has proven important in its interpretation; as Peter Hogg wrote in Constitutional Law of Canada, some have argued that, since the United Kingdom had some freedom of expression in 1867, the preamble extended this right to Canada before the enactment of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 1982.
In New Brunswick Broadcasting Co. v. Nova Scotia, the leading Canadian case on parliamentary privilege, the Supreme Court of Canada grounded its 1993 decision on the preamble. Moreover, since the UK had a tradition of judicial independence, the Supreme Court ruled in the Provincial Judges Reference of 1997 that the preamble shows judicial independence in Canada is constitutionally guaranteed. Political scientist Rand Dyck has criticized the preamble, saying it is "seriously out of date", he claims the Act "lacks an inspirational introduction". The preamble to the Act is not the Constitution of Canada's only preamble; the Charter has a preamble. Part I consists of just two sections. Section 1 gives the short title of the law as Constitution Act, 1867. Section 2 indicates that all references to the Queen apply to all her heirs and successors; the Act establishes the Dominion of Canada by uniting the North American British "Provinces" of Canada, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia. Section 3 establishes that the union would take effect within six months of passage of the Act and Section 4 confirms "Canada" as the name of the country.
Section 5 lists the four provinces of the new federation. These are formed by dividing the former Province of Canada into two: its two subdivisions, Canada West and Canada East, renamed Ontario and Quebec become full provinces in Section 6. Section 7 confirms that the boundaries of New Brunswick are not changed, and Section 8 provides. Section 9 confirms that all executive powers remain with the Queen, as represented by the Governor General or an administrator of the government, as stated in Section 10. Section 11 creates the Queen's Privy Council for Canada. Section 12 states that the executive branches of the Provinces continue to exist and their power is exercised through the Lieutenant Governors, that the powers exercised by the federal government must be exercised through the Governor General, either with the advice of the privy council or alone. Section 13 defines the Governor General in Council as the Governor General acting with the advice of the Privy Council. Section 14 allows the Governor General to appoint deputies to exercise his powers in various parts of Canada.
The Commander-in-Chief of all armed forces in Canada continues with the Queen under Section 15. Section 16 declares Ottawa the capital of the new federation; the Parliament of Canada comprises the Queen and two chambers, as created by section 17. Section 18 defines its powers and privileges as being no greater than those of the British parliament. Section 19 states that Parliament's first session must begin six months after the passage of the Act and Section 20 holds that Parliament must hold a legislative session at least once every twelve months; the Senate has 105 Senators, most of whom represent one of four equal divisions: Ontario, the Maritime Provinces and the Western Provinces. Section 23 lays out the qualifications to become a Senator. Senators are appointed by the Governor General under Section 24, the first group of senators was proclaimed under section 25. Section 26 allows The Crown to add four or eight Senators at a time to the Senate, divided among the divisions, but according to section 27 no more senators can be appointed until, by death or retirement, the number of senators drops below the regular limit of 24 per division.
The maximum number of senators was set at 113, in Section 28. Senators are appointed for life, under Section 29, though they can resign under Section 30 and can be removed under the terms of section 31, in which case the vacancy can be filled by the Governor General. Section 33 gives the Senate the power to rule on its own disputes over vacancy; the Speaker of the Senate is appointed and dismissed by Governor General under Section 34. Quorum for the Senate is set at 15 senators by Section 35, voting procedures are set by Section 36; the composition of the Commons, under Section 37, consists of 30
Acts of Union 1707
The Acts of Union were two Acts of Parliament: the Union with Scotland Act 1706 passed by the Parliament of England, the Union with England Act passed in 1707 by the Parliament of Scotland. They put into effect the terms of the Treaty of Union, agreed on 22 July 1706, following negotiation between commissioners representing the parliaments of the two countries. By the two Acts, the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland—which at the time were separate states with separate legislatures, but with the same monarch—were, in the words of the Treaty, "United into One Kingdom by the Name of Great Britain"; the two countries had shared a monarch since the Union of the Crowns in 1603, when King James VI of Scotland inherited the English throne from his double first cousin twice removed, Queen Elizabeth I. Although described as a Union of Crowns, until 1707 there were in fact two separate Crowns resting on the same head. Prior to the Acts of Union there had been three previous attempts to unite the two countries by Acts of Parliament, but it was not until the early 18th century that both political establishments came to support the idea, albeit for different reasons.
The Acts took effect on 1 May 1707. On this date, the Scottish Parliament and the English Parliament united to form the Parliament of Great Britain, based in the Palace of Westminster in London, the home of the English Parliament. Hence, the Acts are referred to as the Union of the Parliaments. On the Union, the historian Simon Schama said "What began as a hostile merger, would end in a full partnership in the most powerful going concern in the world... it was one of the most astonishing transformations in European history." Despite attempts by Edward I to conquer Scotland in the late 13th and early 14th centuries, the two countries were separate. However, when Elizabeth I became Queen of England in 1558, a union became likely as she neither married nor had children. From 1558 onwards, her heir was her Catholic cousin Mary, Queen of Scots who pledged herself to a peaceful union between the two kingdoms. In 1567, Mary was forced to abdicate as Queen of Scots and replaced by her infant son James VI, brought up as a Protestant and became heir to the English throne.
After Elizabeth died in 1603, the two Crowns were held in personal union by James, now James I of England, his Stuart successors, but England and Scotland remained separate kingdoms. When James became King of England in 1603, the creation of a unified Church of Scotland and England governed by bishops was the first step in his vision of a centralised, Unionist state. On his accession, he announced his intention to unite the two realms so he would not be "guilty of bigamy; the 1603 Union of England and Scotland Act established a joint Commission to agree terms but the English Parliament was concerned this would lead to the imposition of an absolutist structure similar to that of Scotland. James dropped his policy of a speedy union, the topic disappeared from the legislative agenda while attempts to revive it in 1610 were met with hostility; this did not mean James abandoned the idea. The problem was that the two churches were different in both structure and doctrine; the religious policies followed by James and his son Charles I were intended as precursors to political union.
The 1639–1640 Bishops' Wars confirmed the primacy of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland or kirk and established a Covenanter government in Scotland. The Scots remained neutral when the First English Civil War began in 1642, but grew concerned as to the impact of Royalist victory on Scotland after Parliamentary defeats in the first year of the war. Religious union with England was seen as the best way to preserve a Presbyterian kirk; the 1643 Solemn League and Covenant provided Scottish military support for the English Parliament in return for a religious union between the Church of England and the kirk. While it referred to'union' between England and Ireland, it did not explicitly commit to political union which had little support among their English supporters. Religious union was fiercely opposed by the Episcopalian majority in the Church of England and Independents like Oliver Cromwell; the Scots and English Presbyterians came to see the Independents who dominated the New Model Army as a bigger threat than the Royalists and when Charles I surrendered in 1646, they agreed to restore him to the English throne.
Both Royalists and Covenanters agreed the institution of monarchy was divinely ordered but disagreed on the nature and extent of Royal authority versus that of the church. After defeat in the 1647–1648 Second English Civil War, Scotland was occupied by English troops which were withdrawn once the so-called Engagers whom Cromwell held responsible for the war had been replaced by the Kirk Party. In December 1648, Pride's Purge confirmed Cromwell's political control in England by removing Presbyterian MPs from Parliament and executing Charles in January 1649. Despite this, in February, the Kirk Party proclaimed Charles II King of Great Britain.
Representation of the People Act 1884
In the United Kingdom, the Representation of the People Act 1884 and the Redistribution Act of the following year were laws which further extended the suffrage in the UK after the Derby Government's Reform Act 1867. Taken together, these measures extended the same voting qualifications as existed in the towns to the countryside, established the modern one member constituency as the normal pattern for Parliamentary representation; the Act extended the 1867 concessions from the boroughs to the countryside. All men paying an annual rental of £10 and all those holding land valued at £10 now had the vote; the British electorate now totalled over 5,500,000. The bill was so objectionable to the House of Lords that Gladstone was forced to redistribute the seats, in another bill: the Redistribution of Seats Act 1885 redistributed constituencies, giving more representation to urban areas; the 1884 Reform Act did not establish universal suffrage: although the size of the electorate was increased all women and 40% of adult males were still without the vote.
Male suffrage varied throughout the kingdom, too: in England and Wales, two in three adult males had the vote. Section 2: This extended a uniform household franchise to all parliamentary boroughs and counties in the United Kingdom. Section 3: Men inhabiting a dwelling-house as an employee, whose employer did not live there, were to be treated for franchise purposes as if they were occupying as tenants. Section 4: Prohibition of multiplicity of votes; this was not to stop people acquiring multiple votes in different constituencies, but to restrict sub-division of one property to qualify multiple voters. Section 5a: A man, a £10 occupier in a county or borough was to be a voter in that county or borough; this assimilated the previous county occupation franchise and borough occupation franchise into a uniform occupation franchise. Section 6: Occupation in a borough was not to confer a county franchise; as many crofters in the Scottish Highlands qualified as £10 occupiers, the Act empowered Scottish Gaels to take action against evictions and rent increases at the end of the Highland Clearances.
Their votes led to the formation of the Crofters' Party and Highland Land League, the passage of the Crofters' Holdings Act 1886, which addressed many of their grievances and put an end to the Highland Clearances. Parliamentary Franchise in the United Kingdom 1885–1918 Medical Relief Disqualification Removal Act 1885 The Statutes: Second Revised Edition, Vol. XVI 1884-1886, Cunningham Glen, W; the Representation of the People Act, 1884, with introduction notes and index. Shaw & Sons
Treaty of Union
The Treaty of Union is the name now given to the agreement which led to the creation of the new state of Great Britain, stating that England and Scotland were to be "United into One Kingdom by the Name of Great Britain", At the time it was more referred to as the Articles of Union. The details of the Treaty were agreed on 22 July 1706, separate Acts of Union were passed by the parliaments of England and Scotland to put the agreed Articles into effect; the political union took effect on 1 May 1707. Queen Elizabeth I of England and Ireland, last monarch of the Tudor dynasty, died without issue on 24 March 1603, the throne fell at once to her first cousin twice removed, James VI of Scotland, a member of House of Stuart and the only son of Mary, Queen of Scots. By the Union of the Crowns in 1603 he assumed the throne of the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Ireland as King James I; this personal union lessened the constant English fears of Scottish cooperation with France in a feared French invasion of England.
After this personal union, the new monarch, James I and VI, sought to unite the Kingdom of Scotland and the Kingdom of England into a state which he referred to as "Great Britain". Acts of Parliament attempting to unite the two countries failed in 1606, in 1667, in 1689. Beginning in 1698, the Company of Scotland sponsored the Darien scheme, an ill-fated attempt to establish a Scottish trading colony in the Isthmus of Panama, collecting from Scots investments equal to one-quarter of all the money circulating in Scotland at the time. In the face of opposition by English commercial interests, the Company of Scotland raised subscriptions in Amsterdam and London for its scheme. For his part, King William III had given only lukewarm support to the Scottish colonial endeavour. England was at war with France, hence did not want to offend Spain, which claimed the territory as part of New Granada. England was under pressure from the London-based East India Company, anxious to maintain its monopoly over English foreign trade.
It therefore forced the Dutch investors to withdraw. Next, the East India Company threatened legal action, on the grounds that the Scots had no authority from the king to raise funds outside the king's realm, obliged the promoters to refund subscriptions to the Hamburg investors; this Scotland itself. The colonisation ended in a military confrontation with the Spanish in 1700, but most colonists died of tropical diseases; this was an economic disaster for the Scottish ruling class investors and diminished the resistance of the Scottish political establishment to the idea of political union with England. It supported the union, despite some popular opposition and anti-union riots in Edinburgh and elsewhere. Deeper political integration had been a key policy of Queen Anne since she had acceded to the thrones of the three kingdoms in 1702. Under the aegis of the Queen and her ministers in both kingdoms, in 1705 the parliaments of England and Scotland agreed to participate in fresh negotiations for a treaty of union.
It was agreed that England and Scotland would each appoint thirty-one commissioners to conduct the negotiations. The Scottish Parliament began to arrange an election of the commissioners to negotiate on behalf of Scotland, but in September 1705, the leader of the Country Party, the Duke of Hamilton, who had attempted to obstruct the negotiation of a treaty, proposed that the Scottish commissioners should be nominated by the Queen, this was agreed. In practice, the Scottish commissioners were nominated on the advice of the Duke of Queensberry and the Duke of Argyll. Of the Scottish commissioners who were subsequently appointed, twenty-nine were members of the governing Court Party, while one was a member of the Squadron Volante. At the head of the list was Queensberry himself, with the Lord Chancellor of Scotland, the Earl of Seafield. George Lockhart of Carnwath, a member of the opposition Cavalier Party, was the only commissioner opposed to union; the thirty-one English commissioners included government ministers and officers of state, such as the Lord High Treasurer, the Earl of Godolphin, the Lord Keeper, Lord Cowper, a large number of Whigs who supported union.
Most Tories in the Parliament of England were not in favour of a union, only one was among the commissioners. Negotiations between the English and Scottish commissioners began on 16 April 1706 at the Cockpit-in-Court in London; the sessions opened with speeches from William Cowper, the English Lord Keeper, from Lord Seafield, the Scottish Lord Chancellor, each describing the significance of the task. The commissioners did not carry out their negotiations face in separate rooms, they communicated their proposals and counter-proposals to each other in writing, there was a blackout on news from the negotiations. Each side had its own particular concerns. Within a few days, England gained a guarantee that the Hanoverian dynasty would succeed Queen Anne to the Scottish crown, Scotland received a guarantee of access to colonial markets, in the hope that they would be placed on an equal footing in terms of trade. After the negotiations ended on 22 July 1706, acts of parliament were drafted by both Parliaments to implement the agreed Articles of Union.
The Scottish proponents of union believed that failure to agree to the Articles would result in the imposition of a union under less favourable terms, English troops were stationed just south of the Scottish border and in northern Ireland as an "encouragement". Months of fierce debate in both capital cities and throughout both kingdoms followed. In Scotland, the debate on occasion dissolved int