Defining the Victorian Nation: Class, Race, Gender and the British Reform Act of 1867

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Overview

Defining the Victorian Nation offers a fresh perspective on one of the most significant pieces of legislation in nineteenth-century Britain. Hall, McClelland and Rendall demonstrate that the Second Reform Act was marked by controversy about the extension of the vote, new concepts of masculinity and the masculine voter, the beginnings of the women's suffrage movement, and a parallel debate about the meanings and forms of national belonging. Fascinating illustrations illuminate the argument, and a detailed chronology, biographical notes and a selected bibliography offer further support to the student reader.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Hall (Univ. College, London), McClelland (Middlesex), and Rendall (York) break the mold of traditional political history...by analyzing the Reform Act in the light of new political history...this book is a pioneering study that broadens our view of Victorian politics. Graduate students and scholars will find the book invaluable." Choice

"This as a careful, detailed, and convincing book that stands up surprisingly well as a discrete entity" Albion

"...this is a text admirably suited to undergraduates and junior postgraduates...[it] provides extremely lucid accounts of a range of significant movements and episodes...The volume is relatively generously, if conventionally, illustrated with line drawings from the Illustrated London News and cartoons from Punch. H-Net

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521572187
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 6/28/2000
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface; Chronology; Introduction; 1. England's greatness, the working man; 2. The citizenship of women and the Reform Act of 1867; 3. The nation within and without; Appendix: voting qualifications, reform proposals, and the effects of electoral reform 1832–1868; Cast of characters; Bibliography.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2003

    Getting the vote

    A historically important step on the road to universal suffrage in Britain was the passage of the Reform Act of 1867. At possibly the peak of the British Empire, the franchise was quite limited. Half the population, women, could not vote. Of the men, you had to own property worth above a certain amount, or you had to pay above another amount in annual rent. Plus the district in which you could vote might be of vastly different size in electorate compared to another district. As Britain industrialised, the cities grew, as did the educated populations therein. By the 1860s, a thriving educated working and middle class had arisen. This book describes their increasing awareness of their disenfranchisement and their consequent struggles to get the vote. The ratcheting up of social tensions and their manifestations in Parliament and on the streets is recounted. But unlike a history text written in, say, 1910, there is more analysis made of the role of the women's movement, the Free Irish, and the class tensions between the skilled artisans and the middle class. All these were factors which publicly preceded and culminated in the passage of the Reform Act. The authors give an eloquent analysis of events that most Americans are unfamiliar with, inasmuch as the contemporary events here were the Civil War and Reconstruction.

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