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Second Reform Act 1867

The 1832 Reform Act proved that change was possible. The parliamentary elite felt that they had met the need for change but among the working classes there were demands for more. The growth and influence of the Chartist Movement from 1838 onwards was an indication that more parliamentary reform was desired.

The Chartist Movement had peaked by the 1850s but there was an acceptance among Members of Parliament that there was more work to be done to remove anomalies in the system that the first Reform Act had not addressed.


However, the call for universal manhood suffrage or 'one man, one vote' was still resisted by Parliament and the second Reform Act, passed in 1867, was still based around property qualifications.

There was no question of campaigning for the right to vote for women too. They were still excluded.

The 1867 Reform Act:

  • granted the vote to all householders in the boroughs as well as lodgers who paid rent of £10 a year or more
  • reduced the property threshold in the counties and gave the vote to agricultural landowners and tenants with very small amounts of land

Men in urban areas who met the property qualification were enfranchised and the Act roughly doubled the electorate in England and Wales from one to two million men.

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