The Reform Acts and representative democracy
For centuries, Parliament consisted of a small landowning elite whose priorities were their own power and prosperity.
From the 18th century onwards, the social changes brought about by industrial growth and the decline of agriculture meant that the demographic landscape of Britain was altered.
With these changes came demands from the working and middle classes for equality and fairness. It took many years for a more representative Parliament to be achieved.
Explore the Parliamentary Collections for documents and images about John Wilkes and The Great Reform Act
Take your parliamentary reform research further with additional material and Parliamentary sources