Improve your understanding of key milestones in the extension of citizens rights and representation in the nineteenth century.
Explore the origins and path of the course of Parliamentary reform from the impact of the American and French Revolutions to the First World War.
Reflect upon and debate the role of popular protest in effecting political change.
Improve your understanding of the development of workers' rights and the emergence of modern trade unionism and the Labour Party.
Compare the responses of the Liberal and Conservative parties to calls for universal suffrage and the emergence of mass politics.
16th August 2019 marked the bicentenary of the Peterloo Massacre, a key milestone in the campaign to reform Parliament in the 19th century, and an important part of Britain’s democratic heritage and history. On this course, you will understand this event within a wider context of radicalism and reform over the 19th century.
You will start the course charting the charged political climate resulting from the American and French revolutions in the 18th century and conclude the course by examining the campaign for universal men’s and women’s suffrage in the early years of the 20th century.
Revolutions. Week one explores how revolutions in political thought; in agriculture and industry; and America and France led to increasing calls for the reform of Parliament, culminating in the Peterloo Massacre of 1819.
Reform. Week two examines key moments, movements and figures associated with reform in the first half of the nineteenth century, including Catholic Emancipation; the Great Reform Act and Chartism; the abolition of slavery; the Poor Law Amendment Act and the Repeal of the Corn Laws.
Workers: Week three charts the emergence of trade unionism, British responses to and variations of socialism and the establishment and early electoral fortunes of the Labour Party.
Voters: The course concludes with an exploration of when, how and why the vote was extended by Reform Acts in the second half of the nineteenth century, examining the role of both popular campaigns and political calculation. This week culminates with the emergence of mass politics and calls for universal male and (limited) women’s suffrage at the turn of the century.
This course is for anyone with an interest in political and social history, including the history of British Parliament, trade unionism and the labour movement.