Modern World History

Reform Act of 1832

The most important reform of the reign of William IV was the reform of the parliament. There were many defects in the system of election and parliament was not a truly representative body. In new towns that had sprung up as a result of the industrial revolution had no right to send their representatives to parliament whereas some deserted and depopulated places were represented. The number of voters was very small and the landowners mostly controlled elections. The first reform bill was introduced during the ministry of Lord Grey.Its object was to take away the right of representation from the deserted places and give it to the newly populated towns. This bill was passed in 1832 as a result of which parliament became more representative and political power was transferred from the landholders to the middle class people.

This act was the first attempt towards parliamentary reform. The above reform initiated a constitutional revolution that transferred sovereignty from the aristocracy to the middle class and the path for a democratic rule in the country was paved. This act weakened the influence of the House of Lords and raised the status of the House of Commons .The Act made it clear that the highest form of sovereignty in a state resides in the House of Commons and not in the House of Lords. For the first time it introduced uniform franchise in boroughs .The landlords were deprived of their control over the parliament. A new spirit was visible among the members of the House of Commons. Laws affecting the various aspects of national life were passed in quick succession.

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