Votes for (a few more) men
by Instant Noodle
The 1867 reform act gave the vote to every male adult householder living in a borough constituency with male lodgers paying £10 for unfurnished rooms also granted the vote. This gave the vote to a grand total of about 1,500,000 men; around 2 in 5. Like all the other reform acts, it was hardly radical and can be viewed either as a rather weak attempt to appease moderates, or simply to calm radicals and prevent a revolution.
Or rather cynically, it could be seen as an attempt to appeal to a new stock of enfranchised voters, such as the Tory politician Lord Derby, who originally described his supporting the second Reform Act (1867) as ‘a leap in the dark’. It was the 19th century “hug a hoodie”; an attempt to get Conservative Party seen as compassionate and progressive to the working classes.
(3rd August 1867)