The Need To Reform The Political System In 1815

1466 words - 6 pages

The Need to Reform the Political System in 1815
In this question the focus is on the need to reform the political
system which was in place in 1815. This meant that people who had a
seat in parliament were often the aristocracy or gentry in British
society. There was no salary paid to MP’s and therefore only a few
people could afford to enter the field of politics. From this quote we
can infer that it refers to the needs of a change in organization for
the British political system to work fairly for the benefit of the
entire British nation in the future. In order to answer this question
it is clear that there were indeed people who wanted to reform the
parliamentary system. However, there were also those who were content
with the system that was already in place. Nevertheless, the question
of whether it was right to want a reform will be assessed in this
essay.

One of the main criticisms of the political system of the system of
1815 was the idea of that it was in the benefit of the royal and
aristocratic few in the expense of the majority of the British people.
One of the leading voices in society which voiced this view was Tom
Paine. He wrote a book called Right of Man which emphasised the need
for change so that government was not based solely on tradition but in
the control of the British people. This idea meant that reform was the
only way of achieving this and that this was the only way of having a
legitimate country. To argue that Paine had little influence over the
force for reform is incorrect as his book was a best seller and was
extremely significant in the thoughts of many in the middle and lower
ranks. The idea of unfair representation and lack of appreciation of
the entire country angered many who felt undesired. As a result they
therefore wanted change so their opinions could be represented in
parliament.

In addition, because the representation in parliament was not
modernised to match the rapid urbanisation of Britain there was an
imbalance in constituencies across Britain. People like John Wade
(Radical Journalist) were discontent with the idea of rotten boroughs
such as Old Sarum which had representation in parliament even though
there were a total of a mere seven voters, whilst Birmingham with one
hundred and eighty two thousand people did not have a direct
representation in parliament. This showed many people at the time that
unimportant seats were represented and the most important places were
not given representation in parliament which frustrated those who
wanted a say in how the country was ran. Radicals wanted a system
where seats were distributed evenly Britain.

Further more, a point which all radicals agreed on was that the
political system was corrupt. Radicals criticised aristocrats’
electoral patronage. This is when people who worked under...

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