The development of democracy as a political ideal in the second half of the nineteenth century : with special reference to Cambridgeshire, Huntingdonshire, and Co. Durham
This thesis commences with a general review of pre-chartist democratic sentiment in Great Britain followed by a brief study of Chartism's ideology and motivation. It then examines the various aspects of the democratization of the British political system between the years 1850 and 1900. Certain chapters are devoted to key time-spans, notably 1885 and 1867-1868, while others consider particular aspects of electoral practice, including the ballot and women’s suffrage. Other chapters consider the Reform movement prior to 1867, the distribution of parliamentary constituencies, the House of Lords and other, less prominent, issues. The thesis addressed events on the national stage, and the opinions of national political figures, but equal weight is accorded to, and" where possible a comparison attempted with, local political opinion. The latter has been sampled essentially via the local press but, as well as local newspaper editorials, the thesis also extensively quotes the opinions of locally-elected MPs, local political figures and local Reform activists. The two localities studied were selected to provide a comparison in themselves. Hence, as well as national against local and Liberal against Conservative, opinion in rural Tory-dominated Cambridgeshire is compared with that of industrial and overwhelmingly Liberal County Durham. The thesis concludes with an overall review and a short survey of the changing national and local attitudes to "democracy" as such.