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An examination of the extent of the democracy of britain in 1900

This is especially true of the United Kingdom because its history has been very different from most other nations and, as a result, its political system is very different from most other nations too.

Like its unwritten constitution, the British state evolved over time. We probably need to start in 1066 when William the Conqueror from Normandy invaded what we now call England, defeated the Anglo-Saxon King Harold and established a Norman dynasty. The Normans were not satisfied with conquering England and, over the next few centuries, tried to conquer Ireland, Wales and Scotland.

  1. However, in the final week of the Scottish independence referendum campaign, the three major parties in the UK Parliament agreed that, if the Scots voted 'no' as they did , there would be an early transfer of substantial extra powers to the Scottish Parliament.
  2. The conservative government took no action.
  3. Gce history a advanced subsidiary this report on the examination provides information on the performance of candidates which it is y142 britain 1900—1951 21.
  4. Even when there is a rebellion by members of the majority party, the Government usually obtains its wish because all Ministers and their Parliamentary Private Secretaries PPSs are required to vote for the Government or resign their Ministerial or PPS position.
  5. In recent years, the number of Bills passed by Parliament has remained broadly constant at around 50 a year. However the operation of the Act was seriously hampered by a lack of money.

They succeeded with the first two and failed with the last despite several wars over the centuries. By one of those ironical twists of history, when Queen Elizabeth of England died in 1603, she was succeeded by her cousin James VI, King of Scots who promptly decamped from Edinburgh and settled in London as King James I of England while keeping his Scots title and running Scotland by remote control.

Regal pickings were more lucrative in his southern capital.

A century later the Scottish economic and political elite bankrupted themselves on the Darien Scheme and agreed to a scheme of Union between England and Scotland to make themselves solvent again and so Great Britain with one Parliament based in London came into being.

The Irish parliament was abolished in 1801 with Ireland returning members to Westminster and the new political entity was the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The southern Catholic Irish never reconciled themselves to being ruled by the English and rebelled in 1916 and gained independence in 1922. Not a snappy name.

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Meanwhile, although the Normans were the last to mount a successful invasion of the country, there were plenty of other plans to conquer the nation, notably the Spanish under King Philip II in 1588, the French under Napoleon in 1803-1805, and the Germans under Hitler in 1940. Furthermore, in recent centuries, Britain has not had a revolution of the kind experienced by so many other countries. Some might argue that the English Civil War 1642-1651 was the nation's revolution and - athough it was three and a half centuries ago - it did bring about a major shift in power, but the main constitutional consequence - the abolition of the monarchy - only lasted 11 years and the Restoration of the Monarchy has so far lasted 350 years although it is now, of course, a very different monarchy.

There was a time in British history which we call the Glorious Revolution 1688 but it was a very English revolution, in the sense that nobody died, if a rather Dutch revolution in that it saw William of Orange take the throne. So the British have never had anything equivalent to the American Revolution or the French Revolution, they have not been colonised in a millennium but rather been the greatest colonisers in history, and in neither of the two world wars were they invaded or occupied.

For almost 1,000 years, Britain has not been invaded or occupied for any length of time or over any substantial territory as the last successful invasion of England was in 1066 by the Normans. Is this true of any other country in the world? I can only think of Sweden. To simplify British political history very much, it has essentially been a struggle to shift political power and accountability from the all-powerful king - who claimed that he obtained his right to rule from God - to a national parliament that was increasingly representative of ordinary people and accountable to ordinary people.

There have been many milestones along this long and troubled road to full democracy. A key date in this evolution was 1215 when King John was forced to sign the An examination of the extent of the democracy of britain in 1900 Carta which involved him sharing power with the barons.

This is regarded as an examination of the extent of the democracy of britain in 1900 first statement of citizen rights in the world - although Hungarians are proud of the Golden Bull of just seven years later. The so-called Model Parliament was summoned by King Edward I in 1295 and is regarded as the first representative assembly.

Unlike the absolute monarchs of other parts of Europe, the King of England required the approval of Parliament to tax his subjects and so, then as now, central to the exercise of power was the ability to raise funds.

The bicameral nature of the British Parliament - Commons and Lords - emerged in 1341 and the two-chamber model of the legislature has served as a template in very many other parliamentary systems. The Bill of Rights of 1689 - which is still in effect - lays down limits on the powers of the crown and sets out the rights of Parliament and rules for freedom of speech in Parliament, the requirement for regular elections to Parliament, and the right to petition the monarch without fear of retribution.

It was the 19th century before the franchise was seriously extended and each extension was the subject of conflict and opposition. The great Reform Act of 1832 abolished 60 'rotten', or largely unpopulated, boroughs and extended the vote from 400,000 citizens to 600,000, but this legislation - promoted by the Whigs forerunners of the Liberals - was only carried after being opposed three times by the Tories forerunners of the Conservatives.

Further Reform Acts followed in 1867 and 1884. It was 1918 before the country achieved a near universal franchise and 1970 before the last extension of the franchise to 18-21 year olds. Another important feature of British political history is that three parts of the United Kingdom - Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland - have a special status and have local administrations with a wide range of responsibilities.

So the British political system does not have anything equivalent to the federal system of the 50 states in the USA. The final important part of British political history is that, since 1973, the UK has been a member of what is now called the European Union EU.

This now has 28 Member States covering most of the continent of Europe.

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Therefore the UK Government and Parliament are limited in some respects by what they can do because certain areas of policy or decision-making are a matter for the EU which operates through a European Commission appointed by the member governments and a European Parliament elected by the citizens of the member states [for a guide to the working of the EU click here ].

However, in a referendum held on 23 June 2016, the British people narrowly voted that the country should leave the European Union a decsion dubbed Brexita process that was activated in March 2017 but will take two years and be very complex. The year 2015 was a special year for the British Parliament as it was the 750th anniversary of the de Montfort Parliament the first gathering in England that can be called a parliament in the dictionary sense of the wordalong with the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, the document that set the scene for the later 1265 de Montfort Parliament.

The most important practical power is the choice of the Member of Parliament to form a government, but the monarch follows the convention that this opportunity is granted to the leader of the political party with the most seats in the House of Commons or who stands the best chance of commanding a majority in a vote of confidence in the Commons.

Although any remaining powers of the monarchy are largely ceremonial, the Royal Family does have some subtle and hidden influence on the legislative process because of a little-known provision that senior royals - notably the Queen and her eldest son the Prince of Wales - have to be consulted about legislation that might affect their private interests and given the opportunity to have such legislation amended.

Traditionally the choice of monarch has been determined on the hereditary and primogeniture principles which means that the oldest male child of a monarch was the next in line to the throne.

Under the terms of the Act of Settlement of 1701, the monarch and the monarch's spouse could not be Catholics because the UK monarch is also the Head of the Church of England. In 2015, the primogeniture principle was abolished, so that the next in line can now be a female eldest child, and the monarch can marry a Catholic but not himself or herself be one.

Reform in Britain 1870-1914

In classical political theory, there are three arms of the state: The executive - the Ministers who run the country and propose new laws The legislature - the elected body that passes new laws The judiciary - the judges and the courts who ensure that everyone obeys the laws. In the political system of the United States, the constitution an examination of the extent of the democracy of britain in 1900 that there must be a strict division of powers of these three arms of the state, so that no individual can be a member of more than one.

So, for example, the President is not and cannot be a member of the Congress. This concept is called 'separation of powers', a term coined by the French political, enlightenment thinker Montesquieu. This is not the case in the UK where all Ministers in the government are members of the legislature and one individual, the Lord Chancellor, is actually a member of all three arms. One tends to find unicameral legislatures in smaller nations such as Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Greece, Israel and New Zealand, although China and Iran are two larger nations with a single legislative chamber but neither of these countries is a democracy.

The British Parliament is often called Westminster because it is housed in a distinguished building in central London called the Palace of Westminster which stands out because of the clock tower at the south end this is the Elizabeth Tower and it houses Big Ben and the tower with a flag at the other end this is the Victoria Tower. The House of Commons This is the lower chamber but the one with the most authority.

The House of Commons sits each week day for about half of the weeks of the year. The precise hours of sitting are: Unlike the Speaker in the US House of Representatives, the post is non-political and indeed, by convention, the political parties do not contest the Parliamentary constituency held by the Speaker. The House of Commons currently comprises 650 Members of Parliament or MPs the number varies slightly from time to time to reflect population change.

This is a large legislature by international standards.

  • Free early 1900's papers, essays, and research papers is an examination of the points of view of the early 1900s against women and the changing role and status of women in britain since 1900 - the changing role and status of women in britain since 1900 before the;
  • When first created, the Assembly had no powers to initiate primary legislation;
  • Unlike the absolute monarchs of other parts of Europe, the King of England required the approval of Parliament to tax his subjects and so, then as now, central to the exercise of power was the ability to raise funds;
  • The UK does not have its own Bill of Rights;
  • It ended the veto of the House of Lords and only allowed it to delay bills for two years;
  • The number of Ministers varies from administration to administration, but typically there will be around 120, the 20 or so most senior being Cabinet Ministers.

The Coalition Government of 2010-2015 passed legislation to reduce the number from 650 to 600, as part of a wider change to the number and size of constituencies, but Parliament blocked the process of redrawing boundaries that is necessary before an General Election can be held with fewer seats. Rather oddly but deliberatelythere is insufficient seating capacity in the chamber of the House of Commons for all the MPs.

Members do not sit at desks like most legislatures but on long, green-covered benches and there is only seating capacity for 437 MPs out of the total of 650.

The origin of this strange arrangement is that the Commons first home was the medieval St Stephen's Chapel in the Palace of Westminster which could only fit around 400 Members. Equally odd is that Members vote votes are called 'divisions' by physically walking through one of the two lobbies which run along the side of the Commons chamber.

These lobbies are the 'aye' lobby and the 'nay' lobby. This archaic procedure means that votes take a long time to conduct and it is not unknown for a member accidentally to walk into the wrong lobby. The votes are counted by 'tellers' who then return to the chamber to announce the numbers to the Speaker. Each member in the House of Commons represents a geographical constituency.

Typically a constituency would have around 60,000-80,000 voters, depending mainly on whether it is an urban or rural constituency. The largest constituency in the country is the Isle of Wight with around 110,000 electors, while the smallest is Na h-Eileanan an Iar formerly known as the Western Isles with an electorate of only arouind 22,000. The Coalition Government of 2010-2015 intended to make the size of constituencies more equal in terms of electors, but so far the legislation has not been implemented.

Every citizen aged 18 or over can vote once in the constituency in which they live. Voting is not compulsory as it is in Australia. In the last General Election of May 2015, 66.

  1. So far, there is no case of this law being used.
  2. World wars the conservatives 16 october 1900 conservatives are re-elected the cost and conduct of the war prompted concerns that britain was no longer fit.
  3. Debates on most Bills are timetabled through a programme motion when Government and Opposition agree or an allocation of time motion which is popularly known as a 'guillotine' motion when Government and Opposition do not agree.

Most democratic countries use a method of election called proportional representation PR which means that there is a reasonable correlation between the percentage of votes cast for a particular political party and the number of seats or representatives won by that party. In this system, the country is divided into a number of constituencies each with a single member and the party that wins the largest number of votes in each constituency wins that constituency regardless of the proportion of the vote secured.

  • Freedom of information legislation - Britain has a Freedom of Information Act which is a piece of legislation that obliges national government, local government and most public bodies to provide any information requested by an citizen;
  • Both of which were successful;
  • Each case is usually heard by a panel of five Justices, selected by the President and Deputy President of the court;
  • In 1880 education became compulsory up to the age of 10 raised to 12 in 1899 and in 1891 it was made free;
  • The local board had the right to compel children to attend these schools and to charge a nominal fee;
  • In the 1900 britain was considered a democracy, they were ruled by parliament, which people chose through an election- this made it a democracy when did britain become a democracy was britain really a democracy 1900 in order to vote you must.

The simple majority system of election tends to under-represent less successful political parties and to maximise the chance of the most popular political party winning a majority of seats nationwide even if it does not win a majority of the votes nationwide. Until recently, in the UK unlike many countriesthere was not fixed term parliaments.

  • Is this true of any other country in the world?
  • Even on a 'whipped' vote, a couple of hundred peers will not turn up;
  • The explanation for the unusual nature of the Lords goes back to the beginning of this essay:

A General Election - that is, a nationwide election for all 650 seats - was held when the Prime Minister called it, but the election could not be more than five years after the last one and it was usually around four years after the last one. The Coalition Government of 2010-2015 passed legislation to provide for fixed five-year parliaments which meant that the next General Election was scheduled for May 2020. However, the Prime Minister Theresa May was able to call a snap General Election for 8 June 2017 by winning a Commons vote of more than two-thirds to activate provision for an early election in the Fixed Term Parliaments Act.

The result of the last General Election was as follows: In practice, the Speaker is not counted against any political party because he or she is required to be neutral and therefore traditionally he or she is not opposed by other parties in the election.

In Northern Ireland, Sinn Fein - which won 7 constituencies in 2017 - does not take its seats. Its main roles are to revise legislation and keep a check on government by scrutinising its activities. Since 1911, its power to block "money bills" is limited to one month and its power to block other bills is limited to one session, so ultimately it cannot block the will of the House of Commons.

Furthermore, since 1945, there has been the Salisbury Convention that the House of Lords will not oppose a measure that was specifically mentioned in the last election manifesto of the political party forming the Government.

An examination of the extent of the democracy of britain in 1900

The House of Lords is an utterly bizarre institution that has no parallel anywhere in the democratic world. The explanation for the unusual nature of the Lords goes back to the beginning of this essay: There is no fixed number of members in the House of Lords and the number fluctuates because of deaths, retirements and new appointments, but currently there are almost 800 members - many more than in the House of Commons, more than the combined houses of the American Congress or the Indian Parliament although both of these nations have a federal systemand the second biggest legislative body in the world after the Chinese National People's Congress which is effectively a rubber-stamping body.

The number was actually halved to 666 in the reforms of 1999 but, since then, succesive Prime Ministers especially David Cameron have been adding new life peers much faster than members are dying. Indeed the last Coalition Government added over 100. Ironically the size of the House of Lords continues to rise at the same time as the House of Commons has legislated to reduce its size although the legislation has not been implemented.

Historically most members of the House of Lords have been what we called hereditary peers. This meant that years ago a king or queen nominated a member of the aristocracy to be a member of the House and, since then, the right to sit in the House has passed through the family from generation to generation. Clearly this is totally undemocratic and the last Labour Government abolished the right of all but 92 of these hereditary peers to sit in the House.

Almost all the other members of today's House of Lords are what we call life peers. This means that they have been chosen by the Queen, on the advice of the Government, to sit in the House for as long as they live, but afterwards no member of their family has the right to sit in the House. Almost 200 are former Members of Parliament. Others are distinguished figures in fields such as education, health and social policy.

A small number of other members - 26 - are archbishops and bishops of the Church of England.