The Qualifications to Qualify as a Voter After the Second Reform Act of 1867

What were the qualifications to qualify as a voter after the Second Reform Act of 1867:

The Second Reform Act of 1867, formally known as the Representation of the People Act 1867, was a significant piece of legislation in the United Kingdom which sought to extend the franchise. This Act represented a significant extension of the voting rights in the country, particularly in England and Wales.

Under the previous Act of 1832, voting was limited to a relatively small portion of the population. Generally speaking, only male property owners were eligible to vote. The qualifications were primarily financial, with property ownership and the ability to pay a certain amount in rent being key determinants.

What were the qualifications to qualify as a voter after the Second Reform Act of 1867

The qualifications to qualify as a voter after the Second Reform Act of 1867 in the United Kingdom were:

  1. Urban Areas (Boroughs): All male householders living in a dwelling worth at least £10 a year, and occupants of lodgings worth at least £10 a year, were granted the right to vote.
  2. Rural Areas (Counties): Men who owned land worth £5 or more, or occupied land worth £12 or more annually, were granted the right to vote.

The Act didn’t introduce universal male suffrage or grant voting rights to women, but it did dramatically increase the number of men who could vote in England and Wales. The Act is estimated to have doubled the electorate, giving the right to vote to many working-class men for the first time.

Remember, these qualifications relate specifically to the time of the Act’s implementation in 1867. Voting rights and qualifications would continue to evolve in the UK over the subsequent decades. For instance, women wouldn’t gain the right to vote until the early 20th century, and it wouldn’t be until the Representation of the People Act 1918 and 1928 that universal suffrage for all adults over 21 (and over 18 by the Representation of the People Act 1969) was finally achieved.

Video: What was the Second Reform Act? | A brief history of the Second Reform Act 1867

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