Reform Act of 1832

The Representation of the People Act 1832 was a reform bill by the United Kingdom Parliament to create a more fair and just electoral system for the people. Suffrage was given to poor landowners, tenant farmers and store owners, but also to basic homeowners as long as they paid an annual £10 or more. However, with all great news usually comes bad. This specific bill was the first to openly prohibit women from voting, as the bill stated a voter as "male persons". This bill was made possible by the Acts of Union 1800, which created counties and bouroughs in the United Kingdom. This bill also disbanded the then-Parliament and gave way to the first General Election.  The Reform Act of 1832 literally was a reform of it's predeccesor. The number of boroughs were cut as corruption became a prominent issue. Whigs gained traction and power (suffrage) was granted to the people. The Whigs, just to recap, were a political party in 1600-1800 England whose primary belief was in opposition to an absolute monarchy; and they are the reason this bill was even presented. The Reform Act also introduced a widely known concept to England: voter registration. This bill played an extremely important role in creating the modern electoral system the world knows today.

When I heard the news, I could barely think. I, a simple shopkeep, could vote! For so long, I have sat idle as these ridiculous rulers came to power. But now is the time for true change! A change that benefits the whole instead of the few! I quickly departed for the town hall. I shall wait no more for my suffrage. I registered, obtained my evidence and returned to my humble abode. I am not rich like the Chettam family, nor do I have the knowledge of Edward Casaubon. The most important factors of being an important man, and I lack both... But I shall not let that stop me on my path to bettering my country! I would gladly pay £10, nay, £100 to make my voice heard! I am sure my father is ecstatic. His gambling habit has led to him being even poorer than I, but he is prideful and associates with the rich. He had always felt depressed over his lack of power. That is the price to pay for being in the wrong community, huh? But now, I fully expect him to run rampant with his boasting. By God, I feel both worried and happy for him.

“Reform Act 1832.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 30 Aug. 2020,

Eliot, George, and George Eliot. “Chapter XII.” Middlemarch: a Study of Provincial Life, by George Eliot, New York and Boston H. M. Caldwell Company Publishers, 2015.


Associated Place(s)

Event date:

circa. 1832

Parent Chronology: