iPlayer Radio What's New?
Image for The Great Reform Act

Listen now 45 mins

Listen in pop-out player

The Great Reform Act

Duration:
45 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 27 November 2008

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the Great Reform Act of 1832. The Act redrew the map of British politics in the wake of the Industrial Revolution and is a landmark in British political history.“We must get the suffrage, we must get votes, that we may send the men to Parliament who will do our work for us; …and we must have the country divided so that the little kings of the counties can't do as they like, but must be shaken up in one bag with us.” So declares a working class reformist in George Eliot’s novel Felix Holt: the Radical. It is set in 1832, the year of the so-called “Great Reform Act” which extended the vote and gave industrial cities such as Manchester and Birmingham political representation for the first time. But to what extent was Britain’s political system transformed by the Great Reform Act? What were the causes of reform in the first place and was the Act designed to encourage democracy in Britain or to head it off?

  • Further Reading

    HISTORICAL CONTEXT:

    Defining the Victorian Nation: Class, Race, Gender and the Reform Act of 1867 by Catherine Hall, Keith McClelland and Jane Rendall (CUP, 2000)

    The Making of the English Working Class by Edward Palmer Thompson (Penguin, 1968)

    The Forging of the Modern State: Early Industrial Britain by Eric Evans (Longman, 1983)

    The Great Reform Act by Michael Brock (Hutchinson, 1973)

    “The Rule of Difference: Gender, Class and Empire in the Making of the 1832 Reform Act” by Catherine Hall in Gendered Nations: Nationalisms and Gender Order in the Long Nineteenth Century by Ida Blom et al (eds) (Berg, 2000)

    Reform! The Fight for the 1832 Reform Act by Edward Pearce (Pimlico, 2004)

    The Age of Improvement, 1783 – 1867 by Asa Briggs (Longman, 1999)

    Parliamentary Reform 1785 – 1928 by Sean Lang (Routledge, 2004)

    A Half-century of Greatness: The Creative Imagination of Europe, 1848-1883 by Jeffrey Kramer, Frederic Ewen, and Jeffrey Wollock (New York University Press, 2007)

    Aristocratic Government in the Age of Reform: Whigs and Tories 1830-1852 by Peter Mandler (Clarendon, 1990)

Broadcasts

Featured in...

In Our Time Downloads

melvyn-bragg.jpg

Every episode of In Our Time - available to download to listen to when & where you want.

Podcasts

  1. Image for In Our Time Archive: Culture

    In Our Time Archive: Culture

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the history of ideas as it applies to culture - from literature…

  2. Image for In Our Time Archive: History

    In Our Time Archive: History

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the people, conflicts and events that have shaped the world.

  3. Image for In Our Time Archive: Philosophy

    In Our Time Archive: Philosophy

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the history of philosophy - from ancient Greek thinkers to the…

  4. Image for In Our Time Archive: Religion

    In Our Time Archive: Religion

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the history of religious ideas - from the faith systems of…

  5. Image for In Our Time Archive: Science

    In Our Time Archive: Science

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the history of ideas and the evolution of the sciences - from…

  6. Image for In Our Time With Melvyn Bragg

    In Our Time With Melvyn Bragg

    Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the history of ideas - including topics drawn from philosophy,…

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Added. Check out your playlist Dismiss