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The Great Reform Act of 1832 and British Democratization
Thomas Ertman Comparative Political Studies 2010 43: 1000 originally published online 12 May 2010 DOI: 10.1177/0010414010370434 The online version of this article can be found at: http://cps.sagepub.com/content/43/8-9/1000

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The Great Reform Act of 1832 and British Democratization
Thomas Ertman1

Comparative Political Studies 43(8/9) 1000­ –1022 © The Author(s) 2010 Reprints and permission: http://www. sagepub.com/journalsPermissions.nav DOI: 10.1177/0010414010370434 http://cps.sagepub.com

Abstract This article focuses on the brief period (1828-1835) of intense political change in the years immediately before and after the Great Reform Act of 1832 as a critical juncture within the process of British democratization. This change was set in motion by a movement to extend the rights of religious minorities, but soon took on a dynamic of its own and led, quite unexpectedly, to a fundamental break in the constitutional order of the United Kingdom. This reform episode deserves to be classified as a critical juncture for three reasons: first, it put an end to executive control of the legislature through pocket boroughs and placemen and ushered in a culture of national political participation; second, it brought forth a new source of order in politics, a two-party system built around religious cleavages; and finally, it acted as both an impetus and a model for future electoral expansions (1867, 1884, 1918). In the second part of the article, the “reach” of 1832 is explored by examining the relevance of this critical juncture to the triumph and successful defense of democracy in Britain during the interwar period. Keywords democratization, critical junctures, 1832 Reform Act, United Kingdom, religious cleavage

1

New York University, New York, NY, USA

Corresponding Author: Thomas Ertman, New York University, Department of Sociology, 295 Lafayette St., 4th Floor, New York, NY 10012 Email: Thomas.Ertman@nyu.edu

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2012 . In the second half of the article. when the United Kingdom finally made the transition to full democracy.” with the ruler the embodiment of the monarchical principle. First Lord of the Admiralty) whom the king or queen still enjoyed the freedom to appoint. I hope to contribute to this new research by examining in some detail the events surrounding the passage of the Great Reform Act of 1832 in the United Kingdom. Gregory Luebbert. inaugurated a two-party system built principally around religious cleavages. The expansion of toleration and the alteration of selection procedures for both the House of Commons and local government introduced during these 7 years ushered in national participatory politics. regardless of the monarch’s wishes.sagepub. Giovanni Capoccia and Daniel Ziblatt (2010) have pointed to a recent wave of research on European democratization characterized by a “return to history” that builds on the older classical texts of Barrington Moore.com at Universiteit Leiden \ LUMC on February 19. In practice the day-to-day running of the executive was in the hands of a prime minister (formally First Lord of the Treasury) and a few key department heads or cabinet ministers (Chancellor of the Exchequer. and that the cabinet as a whole was bound together by Downloaded from cps. However. 1832 and the End of Britain’s Ancien Regime Britain on the eve of the French Revolution stood out among its European neighbors not only for its economic dynamism and naval firepower but also—and rightly so—for its nonabsolutist form of government and religious tolerance. Stephens and Stephens. following Capoccia and Kelemen (2007). the Lords that of aristocracy. unforeseen transformation of a political regime occurring over a relatively short period of time as a result of decisions by a small number of actors.Ertman 1001 In their introduction to this special issue. a fundamental. and the Commons that of democracy. by the 1780s it was universally recognized both that a prime minister who had lost the confidence of the Commons had to resign. and set off a dynamic of electoral expansion that continued into the 20th century. and Rueschemeyer. and that democracy was able to stand up successfully to the threats posed by economic depression and indigenous fascism. Finally. Lord Chancellor. two Secretaries of State. By this I mean. I attempt to draw some general conclusions about democratization based on the British case. The British viewed their political system as “balanced. I argue that a “critical juncture” took place in Britain between 1828 (repeal of portions of the Test and Corporation Acts) and 1835 (passage of the Municipal Corporations Act). In this article. I then investigate the limits of path dependence emanating from this critical juncture by exploring the extent to which the sea changes wrought by “1832 and all that” were still relevant between 1918 and 1939.

pp. in practice such restrictions were rarely enforced and the Roman Catholic Relief Act of 1778 removed from the statute books altogether those clauses pertaining to property ownership.” Although both Protestant Nonconformists and Roman Catholics were barred from taking degrees at Oxford and Cambridge.000 priests (Hilton. including some 7. 62. 2006. pp. pp. and though many Methodists broke with the Church of England after Wesley’s death in 1791. p. Presbyterians. 1986. Protestants not belonging to Church of England. and Congregationalists. 1989. 2000. and in 1793 those Catholics owning land worth 40 shillings per year gained the vote for county elections to the Irish Parliament. Nonconformists—who in general had few problems with the first three conditions—were often tempted to take Downloaded from cps. 221.000 Catholics remained in England in the 1760s out of a population of some 7 million. Furthermore. p. a new revivalist movement centered around the Clapham Sect ensured that the tensions between so-called Evangelicals (or after 1846 Low Churchmen) and their High Church opponents would continue and intensify throughout the 19th century. 75. 2012 . 325-490). sign a declaration against transubstantiation. Although in the aftermath of the Glorious Revolution of 1688 restrictions had been placed on Catholic property rights and freedom of worship through the Popery Act of 1700. and those limits were drawn most sharply with respect to “papists. 48. pp. 1989.1002 Comparative Political Studies 43(8/9) collective responsibility.1 Although England possessed a state church of which the monarch was the titular head. 684-687. 291-296. 706-709). and take Anglican communion.com at Universiteit Leiden \ LUMC on February 19. a right they retained for United Kingdom elections after the union of Britain and Ireland in 1801. Dissenters were at least permitted to matriculate at the latter. Hoppit. Langford.000 (Catholic) refugees from revolutionary France. Rupp. Langford. 531. such as Baptists. the vast majority of Ireland’s 4 million inhabitants of course belonged to this faith. 2006. and it was around this constitutional norm that the supremacy of the lower house and the ministers whom it supported was constructed (Hilton. 243-258. meaning that individual ministers could not be forced from office against the will of their cabinet colleagues. The established church itself became increasingly divided after 1739 in the wake of John Wesley’s Methodist renewal movement. money bills could not be rejected in the face of a majority in the Commons.sagepub. Although only about 70. And though the Corporation (1661) and Test (1673) Acts required all officeholders to swear the oaths of allegiance and supremacy. It is also worth noting that after 1789 Britain granted asylum to about 150. Yet toleration had its limits. All new legislation— and by the 1780s nearly 200 new statutes were passed every year—required the approval of a majority in the Commons and Lords and the signature of the ruler. enjoyed freedom of worship thanks to the Act of Toleration of 1689.

The fiscal burden of such benefits. pp. the judiciary. 119-122). pp. 32-38. 1983. 15-17. 1956. 352). drawn on the public purse.Ertman 1003 communion once as an act of so-called “occasional conformity” to qualify for office. By this critics meant the ability of the executive in the guise of the prime minister to undermine the independence of Parliament by the offer of lucrative offices. and grants of government contracts or the lease of crown lands on favorable terms (Harling. pp. pp. pp. high pensions. The brief ascent of the Rockingham Whigs to power in 1782 permitted Edmund Burke to convert plans into action through an act that abolished over 130 useless offices (Harling. As Philip Harling has Downloaded from cps. 380381. 1996. 1996. Lord North. present almost from the birth of the parliamentary monarchy in the wake of the Glorious Revolution of 1688. drew up detailed plans for administrative and financial reform in 15 reports issued between 1780 and 1786. Hilton. must have been considerable because there existed some 600 sinecures alone in 1780. the criticisms of the opposition Rockingham Whigs that such inefficiency and waste should no longer be tolerated were taken up by a popular movement known as the Association that emerged in late 1779. the latter were forced to shoulder the extra fiscal burden of a double land tax assessment (Hilton. 147. all financed through a highly regressive tax system. To many contemporary observers. 1989. 549). The issue of influence was closely intertwined with the more general problem of “Old Corruption. and the Church. reversions or the ability to pass on an office to a chosen successor. In fact. a step unthinkable for Catholics. and other rewards to MPs. 2012 . p. One area of concern. whereas Catholics were largely excluded from public positions. Langford. 55-73). Dissenters dominated municipal government in several commercial towns such as Coventry and Nottingham. p. 2006. though not from the army. Rubinstein.com at Universiteit Leiden \ LUMC on February 19. 53). 2006. according to Samuel Finer (1952. and more recently Boyd Hilton has put the figure at 185 for the period 1784 to 1790 (Christie. 10. based on information collected through an unprecedented level of access to state documents. established the Commission for Examining the Public Accounts that. concerned what was known as the influence of the Crown. Hoppit. In addition. 294-296.” a polemical term of the early 19th century opposition used to refer to five kinds of rewards enjoyed by those in power: excessive salaries for positions in state administration. 2006. contracts.sagepub. sinecures or offices requiring no work from the incumbent but carrying a high income. Ian Christie has estimated that about 200 of the 585 members of the House of Commons were so-called placemen (in government pay) in 1780. pp. 2000. Hilton. pp. With the national debt rising sharply to finance the American war. 219-221. often heritable. Britain’s political system was also not without its faults. In response the prime minister.

at least in theory. and 4 each from the city of London and Weymouth). Rubinstein. potwalloper. 2012 . pp. pp. The problem with the pre-1832 electoral system lay not in the counties. 21. of whom 558 sat for English constituencies. Voting took place in the county seat for the entire county and was public. driven forward by the fiscal pressures of the American and French wars and their aftermath. 1973. thereby reducing the need for sinecures and reversions as a substitute for such benefits (Harling. No uniform rules existed for the selection of borough representatives. 1996. 1983. By the 1820s the results achieved were substantial. At the same time. Brock. relatively open. The electorate in the counties consisted of all men owning property worth 40 shillings (£2) per annum in rent. 4 for Yorkshire). the House of Commons of the United Kingdom’s Parliament numbered 658 members. by the frightening example of the French Revolution. and pension costs more than halved.1004 Comparative Political Studies 43(8/9) shown. Of these 82 represented the 40 English counties (2 members each for 39 of the counties. which sent 403 MPs to the Commons (390 from 195 two-member constituencies. sinecures reduced from approximately 600 to fewer than 100. 24. 74. This cumulative. by popular agitation. and in fact six different systems were in use (scot and lot. but rather in the English boroughs. freeman. a high threshold in 1430 when this requirement was enacted but a relatively low one by the 1820s. the Superannuation Act of 1810 created a system of retirement benefits for officials. 7. the assault on Old Corruption continued—though in a more episodic fashion—between 1783 and 1827 during the long prime ministry of William Pitt and his principal successor Lord Liverpool. the electoral system. present his evidence of qualification (no voter registry was kept) and then announce his two votes. 78). Although successive governments had combated Old Corruption with varying degrees of application and enthusiasm between 1780 and the 1820s. 3-4. where the electorate was fairly broad and contests. Following the union with Ireland in 1801. 29-30.sagepub. burgage.com at Universiteit Leiden \ LUMC on February 19. 14. pp. 5 from single-member boroughs. 145. stepwise attack on Old Corruption over a period of some four decades stands in contrast to the “critical juncture” of 1828 to 1835 when change would be sudden and unforeseen and would replace the old political regime altogether rather than simply correcting some of its worst excesses. Downloaded from cps. 17-34). which were recorded in a poll book (thereby providing historians with invaluable evidence on voting behavior until the introduction of the secret ballot in 1872. with the number of placemen cut from some 200 in 1780 to 89 in 1822. none had been willing to address a second perceived deficiency of the British constitution. and by a new sense of the impropriety of many government practices inspired by Evangelicalism. The elector would appear on the designated day or days (15 days where permitted for polling). corporation.

pp. 1973. The question. pp. 96-97. the distribution of the borough seats was highly unequal. 2006. 434-435. with 11 southern seaboard counties plus Wiltshire claiming more than half of the English borough seats (40 borough seats in Cornwall alone) and growing cities in the underrepresented industrial north such as Manchester and Leeds possessing no MPs at all (Brock. p. and to these must be added nearly all of the Scottish constituencies (45 MPs) and 18 Irish boroughs (18 MPs). prime minister since 1812. In 1822. sought unsuccessfully to end the representation of 36 small boroughs. but he was supported by only 164 of his fellow MPs and the issue of parliamentary reform then disappeared completely from the political agenda. thereby provoking a deep rift within both factions. To understand this outcome. 1993. with not a single petition on this subject presented to the Commons between 1824 and 1829 (Brock. 44). 52-53.com at Universiteit Leiden \ LUMC on February 19. Hilton. Without delving too deeply into the complex details. and in 1801 he resigned after the king blocked his plan to remove the political disabilities facing Catholics in the wake of the act of union between Great Britain and Ireland. suffice it to say that 77 boroughs sending 151 MPs to Westminster possessed fewer than 100 electors. Indeed. 2012 . in 1785 the prime minister himself. suffered a stroke and was forced to step down. pp. 42. His successor was the charismatic but controversial liberal George Canning. Parry. when a reform dynamic—and with it a critical juncture—began that proved unstoppable by 1832. leaving Parliament leaderless at a time of deepening economic distress sparked by the financial Downloaded from cps. Many attempts had been undertaken prior to the late 1820s both to reform parliamentary representation and to reduce discrimination against religious minorities. 36. In addition to this subversion of the electoral system by a small number of powerful patrons. the Whig Lord John Russell introduced a bill that envisaged the redistribution of 100 borough seats to the counties and growing towns. William Pitt. and a further 36 representing 70 seats had between 100 and 300. Having succeeded in constructing a mixed cabinet of both Tories and Whigs. we must begin in 1827. then. is why this issue suddenly reappeared with a vengeance in 1830 and led only 2 years later to one of the greatest turning points in British history. Under these circumstances it is hardly surprising that a knowledgeable contemporary observer (John Croker) could claim that in the late 1820s single individuals determined the election outcome for 276 seats out of 658 in the unreformed House of Commons. 1973.sagepub. 17-34). but also the opposition Whigs. It was in February of that year that Lord Liverpool.Ertman 1005 freeholder). This meant that electorates small enough to be controlled by a powerful patron selected 221 MPs. whose support for Catholic emancipation divided not only his own fellow progovernment (“Tory”) MPs. he unexpectedly died in August 1827.

unless Catholics were granted full political rights. 101). Parry. 2006. on the other. the Duke of Wellington was able to form a government in January 1828 consisting of Tories and Canningites and led in the House of Commons by Sir Robert Peel.sagepub. This significant advance in the area of civil liberties only served to emphasize the continuing exclusion of Roman Catholics from the polity. and a bill that would have realized this was defeated by only four votes in 1827. 384-397. It seems clear in retrospect that it was Catholic emancipation. pp. used its influence to push the Catholic Relief Act through Parliament with large majorities (Brock. 1973. Canning had favored Catholic emancipation. both opposed this step as did. Parry. 372-383. and hence to the entire United Kingdom. Wellington and Peel. 1973.1006 Comparative Political Studies 43(8/9) collapse of December 1825. pp. After a period of some disarray. some Whigs and liberals sought to capitalize on the double victories of 1828 and 1829 over religious discrimination by championing a new issue. 46-51. a majority of the British population not only for reasons of anti-Irish and anti-Catholic prejudice but also because modern Britain’s founding moment—the Glorious Revolution of 1688—had been directed against the Catholic James II’s attempt to impose absolutism with foreign (French) help. 50-55. the prime minister and his principal deputy eventually came to realize. 51-55). that placed parliamentary reform back on the political agenda in 1830 after the hiatus of 1824 to 1829. and it was Lord John Russell Downloaded from cps. On one hand. as had Pitt nearly three decades earlier. a state of affairs inextricably linked to the sensitive issue of British–Irish relations. in all likelihood. in combination with the continuing economic downturn. 56. Lord John Russell then took up the cause and introduced legislation in February 1828.com at Universiteit Leiden \ LUMC on February 19. The new administration was immediately confronted by a vigorous public campaign organized by Dissenters in the Commons who hoped to capitalize on the ongoing Evangelical revival both inside and outside the Church of England to demand the repeal of those portions of the Test and Corporation Acts that still discriminated against Nonconformists (though not those most injurious to Catholics). Hilton. conservative or “ultra” Tories attributed the government’s ability to pass legislation unpopular in Britain as a whole to the nomination or “rotten” borough system. Hilton. the government announced its backing for emancipation in February 1829 and. 2012 . pp. which quickly passed both Houses (Brock. despite opposition from the king. 1993. Yet in the wake of a massive popular mobilization launched by Daniel O’Connell’s Catholic Association (founded in 1823). pp. pp. however.000 protest petitions. that peace would never come to Ireland. pp. Defying the countermobilization of Orangemen in Ireland and Britain organized into more than 100 Brunswick clubs and more than 2. 1993. and it was the ultra-Tory Marquess of Blandford who sponsored a motion for reform in February 1830. 2006.

pp.com at Universiteit Leiden \ LUMC on February 19. Grey returned. more than 1. 1996. and although England lost 17 representatives (from 489 to 472). 56 English boroughs lost all of their 111 seats and a further 30 lost 1 of 2. a step that provoked riots throughout the country. a revolution overthrew the reactionary Restoration monarchy in France in July and replaced it with the more liberal regime of Louis-Philippe. On November 2. 1996. In addition. 1831. William IV ended his opposition. whereas 22 new boroughs were granted 2 MPs each and another 20 were granted 1 MP. and Canningites (liberal Tories) and. Harling. their administration suffered losses in the elections that had to be held in the summer of 1830 following the death of George IV and the ascension of his brother as William IV. 412-420). pp. When Wellington proved unable to form a new government. 192-193).000 petitions had already been submitted to Parliament. Grey asked for and received a dissolution and new elections in which he won a decisive victory (April-May 1831). and Ireland 5 (100 to 105). and less then 2 weeks later he chose to resign following a defeat in the Commons (233 to 204) on a budget measure (Harling. The county electorate in England increased by about one third because of the Downloaded from cps. 1832. and the Representation of the People Act was approved by Parliament and received the royal assent on June 7. 195-196. The new House of Commons then approved a modified version of the bill by 136 votes in July only to have it rejected by the Lords in October. Wellington stated bluntly to the new Parliament that he did not believe it needed reforming. Although Wellington and Peel sought to hold on to power. All of this took place against a background of heightened extraparliamentary mobilization around the rights of Dissenters and Catholics. 2006) that ensued began with the king’s choice of the Whig Lord Grey as prime minister to succeed Wellington. 2006. as has often been pointed out. and Grey resigned. More violence followed in May 1832 after the king reneged on a promise to create new peers to ensure passage in the Lords.Ertman 1007 who introduced an actual reform bill several days later (defeated by 188 to 140 in the Commons. was the most aristocratic of the 19th century. pp. 2012 . ultra Tories. an event that electrified Europe and contributed to the Belgian uprising against Dutch rule in August. The bill passed its second reading on the 23rd by only one vote. Scotland 8 (45 to 53). Hilton. thus leaving the total unchanged at 658. agricultural distress (the Swing riots). The government that he formed was an odd coalition of Whigs. By March 1.sagepub. The 15-month long “struggle for Reform” (Hilton. At the same time. and when an opposition motion was carried by eight votes on April 20. when Lord John Russell introduced a bill for sweeping reform according to which 107 existing boroughs were to lose 167 seats. In the act as finally passed. Wales gained 4 (24 to 28). the more politically open English counties gained 62 seats (from 82 to 144). and the Evangelical-driven antislavery campaign.

2006. thereby short-circuiting potential critical junctures and rendering them “near misses” (Capoccia & Kelemen.com at Universiteit Leiden \ LUMC on February 19. Hilton. 1973. it was not as a result of a long and continuous build-up of pressure. the act reduced the number of nomination seats (controlled by a single individual) from 276 before 1832 to only about 41 in 1840 (Brock. rising during periods of economic distress and/or budget crisis (early 1780s. pp. 34. 422-424. but this time around the issue of slavery. 1833. 115-117.2% to 4. 125-126). Overall. The high level of political mobilization continued. pp. pp.sagepub.500 to 64. However. and a uniform borough franchise (ownership or occupation of a dwelling worth £10 in annual rent) was introduced for the first time. 2007. the franchise grew by some 45%. demands for parliamentary reform were present at both the popular and elite level since the mid-18th century. though not the secret ballot (this arrived only in 1872).000 petitions to the new Parliament. From a theoretical point of view. and perhaps most significantly.7% of the total population. 422. 2006. a change that led in part to the expansion of the electorate in Scotland from 4. which replaced 178 previously closed borough councils with bodies elected by all adult male rate (local tax) payers. In the aftermath of the Great Reform Act. 1829-1832) but falling during times of national emergency or prosperity (1793-1815. pp. an election was called in December 1832 according to the new rules that gave an overwhelming victory to the government (483 of 658 seats). several factors seem to have come together between 1828 to 1832 to bring reform on to the agenda and to push it “over the top”: mounting economic Downloaded from cps.500. Parry. 498-499. Hilton. A residency requirement and a voter registry were also instituted. pp. 1817-1822.1008 Comparative Political Studies 43(8/9) addition of two new categories of voters. 200-204. 1822-1827). yet the intensity of such demands fluctuated substantially. when reform did come. 2012 . 79-87). 1993. pp. 310-313. as the Anti-Slavery Society gained the support of between 140 and 200 MPs and sent more than 5. and this is a second point. 352). which duly abolished slavery throughout the British Empire on August 28. 589-599. p. 1996. though only from 3. thereby dismantling one of the last foundations of the pre-1832 political system (Harling. several features of the “struggle for reform” culminating in the passage of the Reform Act in 1832 stand out. 19-20. Parry. The same procedure was used to prepare the sweeping Municipal Corporations Act of 1835. Rather. Over the next two years. 98. First. Hence. 1993. the governments of Grey and his successor Melbourne used investigating Royal Commissions to lay the groundwork for far-reaching social legislation such as the Factory Act of 1833 (limitations on working hours of children monitored by a national inspectorate) and the New Poor Law of 1834 (workhouse relief for ablebodied men administered by elected boards of Poor Law guardians).

uniform borough and expanded county franchise). pp. 302-303) has forcefully argued. The first of these was the arrival of participatory national politics to Britain. the act was not the realization of a predefined plan or program. Yet while pointing to these structural factors. As John Phillips (1992. 2012 . taken together with the measures in favor of Dissenters and Downloaded from cps.Ertman 1009 distress for which political change was seen as a remedy.com at Universiteit Leiden \ LUMC on February 19. the extended mobilization for reform between 1830 and 1832. to what extent did it inaugurate a path-dependent pattern of development within British political life? I would argue that one can point to three long-term consequences of the Representation of the People Act which. It was above all their decision to abandon a long-standing opposition to full political rights for Catholics and to push through emancipation despite opposition from their followers and from the country as a whole that left them unable to resist in an effective way the skillful maneuvering of Russell and Grey for parliamentary reform. 350). as I have stressed. a “contagion” effect from abroad in the wake of the 1830 revolutions in France and Belgium. The overall outcome. which no one would have anticipated even five years earlier. it was not the result of a single event but rather of. punctuated by two elections.sagepub. nor was a single political party or single great leader mainly responsible for its passage. as we shall see. How significant was 1832 for the course and pace of British democratization? In other words. Agitation of this kind had occurred in the past. a change that proved to be irreversible. The government that introduced the Reform Bill was composed of politicians from opposing factions. abandonment of the Protestant constitutional settlement of 1689 with Catholic emancipation) rendered the idea of a complete reshaping of the previously inviolate House of Commons imaginable and even inevitable. thus fits well the definition of a critical juncture because. most importantly. continued to resonate over a century later. to use Capoccia and Kelemen’s (2007) characterization. it is equally important to underline the central significance of personal choices made by Peel and Wellington. united ordinary people across Britain in debates and lobbying centered on a high political issue that would be settled in Westminster rather than on a matter of principally local concern. “an accumulation of related events during a relatively compressed period” (p. and a “snowball” dynamic in which a series of reforms that broke ever more powerful taboos (repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts after nearly 170 years. 10-11. Finally. but this time its geographic spread was greater and. and the contents of the bill introduced by a junior minister shocked Parliament in its radicalism yet could be carried (with some modifications in detail) thanks to popular mobilization that came from both ends of the political spectrum. the structural changes introduced by the act itself (elimination of most nomination boroughs.

A new form of organization was needed. and freethinkers as well as some anticlerical Anglicans (Parry. and in a society as religious as the United Kingdom. and then using this discipline to pass explicitly partisan legislation (rather than legislation based on ad hoc coalitions as was so often true before 1832). the new possibilities for participation opened up by 1832 placed a premium on local level organization. it allowed to a much greater extent than before 1832 the transmission of popular feeling to the House of Commons. 128-149. Second. it was now no longer possible for governments to employ them to secure majorities in the Commons.5 to 4 times more electoral support from its members than their opponents. who in turn could count on the loyalty of Nonconformists (who voted Liberal by a ratio of between 8 and 12 to 1).1010 Comparative Political Studies 43(8/9) Catholics and municipal government reform. the Liberals. 302). J. in 1851 Dissenters represented 42% of all Protestant worshippers in the south of England. In that year. Furthermore. 5. pp. 1851. parties created the kind of positive feedback loop that Paul Pierson (2004. 75. Although the new system of representation was far from perfect. 52% in the north. pp. however fragile. 69% in Scotland.4% of all working-class children were enrolled in Sunday schools (Parry. Why was this so? On one hand. despite the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts and Catholic Emancipation. 1986. 2012 . 11. 1992. 1993. and 80% in Wales. Downloaded from cps. the three decades following the Reform Act saw the emergence in Britain of a two-party system. the party landscape would be structured throughout the rest of the 19th century principally around a religious cleavage. greatly expanded the scope for institutionalized participation in national politics. 272-279. and this was provided by parties with a national reach befitting a participatory political culture. pp. the United Kingdom remained a society with a powerful state church to which a sizeable portion of its citizens did not belong.sagepub. p. imposing discipline on them once they arrived. better suited to the altered electoral rules. 199. and the passage of the act against the opposition of both the monarch and the House of Lords underlined the fact for all to see that the Commons was now indisputably the most important element of the constitution. By helping to send ever more MPs to Westminster. March 30. On the other hand. Thus. the Conservatives or Tories identified themselves as the staunchest defenders of the established Church and drew 2. 21) and others have identified at the heart of path-dependent historical processes. Catholics. 1986. principally defined by lines of religious cleavage. pp.com at Universiteit Leiden \ LUMC on February 19. With the practical elimination of nomination boroughs after 1832. Phillips. Thus. as mentioned above. 6-7). Parry. The so-called Religious Census of 1851 found that about 61% of the population of England and Wales attended services on Sunday. church congregations provided the most extensive and influential source of such organization.

1993. 1884-1885. no longer benefited from the legitimacy hallowed by time that the 40 shilling freehold and the diverse borough franchises had enjoyed prior to 1832. p. then.1% Presbyterian. provided the glue that held disparate groups within the Liberal party together for decades beginning in the 1840s (Hilton. and only 10. and 1918 because it still excluded the great majority of the adult population from the vote. 496. Parry. 532-534. At the same time. Such grievances. 2006. 434). through positive feedback.Ertman 1011 In Ireland. the 1832 act contained within it the seed of the future reforms of 1867. because they were clearly the result of political deals embodied in the various reform acts. pp. as in 1832. Perhaps most importantly for the future.7% Anglican in 1834 (Hilton. The reforms introduced during the critical juncture of 1828 to 1835. the act provided a model for overcoming such inherent tensions and contradictions through a gradual lowering of electoral qualifications that.sagepub. p. 131-149). 1988. Finally.9% of the population was Catholic. Parry. 1986. together with a belief in the moral dimension of free markets prevalent among many varieties of Dissenters and Evangelicals. 2006. pp. members of these religious minorities often felt themselves to be secondclass citizens as a result of continuing discrimination in education and the requirement that they pay tithes to support a Church of England or Ireland to which they did not belong. At the same time. electoral reform came about thanks to the collaboration between Conservatives/Tories and Liberals because both thought they would gain from wider participation. Furthermore. pp. Indeed. Although the propertied among them may have gained new political rights between 1828 and 1832. 8. where close to a quarter of the kingdom’s citizens lived. reproduced itself successfully until at least Downloaded from cps. inaugurated a new pattern of path-dependent political development in Britain that. the significance of the religious cleavage meant that both Liberals and Conservatives relied on support from all social classes because all of the principal religious communities drew members from across the social spectrum. 2012 .com at Universiteit Leiden \ LUMC on February 19. 80. 34-36) long ago identified as the safest route to polyarchy. in both 1867 and 1918. 520-524. This process of the stepwise expansion of participation from the Great Reform Act until the arrival of fully universal and equal suffrage in 1948 is the textbook example of what Dahl (1971. 2006. p. the use of a uniform (and arbitrary) property value of £10 as the main electoral qualification in the boroughs in the face of great variations in the level of rents across the country meant that men who were well down the social scale but lived in expensive cities such as London obtained the vote whereas those similarly situated but living elsewhere did not (Hilton. 397). many Anglicans were dissatisfied on either theological grounds or because of discomfort with the power of their church’s hierarchy and its support from the state.

sagepub. it was the established political right as embodied by the Conservative Party which dominated British politics during the interwar years.7 million. Taylor. pp. pp. Pugh. In the seven elections held between 1918 and 1935. Despite this substantial expansion of the suffrage. 1997. pp. though plural voting would not be eliminated until 1948. Successful Democratic Consolidation in Interwar Britain and the Legacy of 1832 Less than a century after the events of 1832. 7-13. 94. Qualifications for men and women would be equalized in 1928. the total electorate had numbered some 7. 261-262). this figure rose to 21. pp. The act granted the vote to all men older than 21 but only to women older than 30 who qualified (or whose husbands qualified) for the municipal franchise.7 million. just as was true in the seven other cases of democratic survival in interwar Western Europe (Norway. 115-116). 243. pp. 253. although the Tories gained more than 250. pp. France). Indeed. Pugh. I explore the degree to which path dependence with its roots in the first half of the 19th century can throw new light on Britain’s ability to withstand threats to democracy during the interwar period. 199-200. the Netherlands. 1963. 1975. 2012 . Prior to 1918. pp. the Conservatives Downloaded from cps. the Tories won the largest number of popular votes on every single occasion and the largest number of seats all but once.1012 Comparative Political Studies 43(8/9) World War I. The Conservative Party’s electoral performance between the wars was undoubtedly impressive. Belgium. But did the influence of the Great Reform Act extend beyond that point? In the following section. Sweden. Butler & Sloman. 1990. only the peculiarities of Britain’s first-past-the-post electoral system awarded Labour 28 more seats in 1929. 114-116). 142-145. 1967. with men making up roughly 60% of voters and women 40% (Butler. In keeping with this electoral dominance. this dominance was greater in Britain than anywhere else except perhaps in the Netherlands and Switzerland. Tanner. a new Representation of the People Act was passed in the midst of World War I (March 1918) that finally brought universal—though not yet equal—suffrage to Britain. Denmark. Following the passage of the act. 1982. 182-184).000 more votes (Butler & Sloman.com at Universiteit Leiden \ LUMC on February 19. What is even more surprising is that such a pro-Conservative majority existed among the working class. with the Tories gaining approximately 50% to 55% of the vote in the 1930s against a maximum of 42% to 48% for Labour (McKibbin. Switzerland. 1975. 142-143. Ross McKibbin (1990) has even argued that the three-way nature of many electoral contests actually hurt the Conservatives more than Labour and has concluded from this that “there was throughout the period a large anti-Labour majority in the country” (pp. 287-288. 1982.

92-107. The political hegemony after 1931. protection. I would argue. p. At the time. and a proven appeal among World War I veterans. for 18 of the 21 years between 1918 and the outbreak of the Second World War. Rothermere withdrew his support and membership collapsed to 5. the electoral redistricting in 1918. 1987. the BUF had the potential to become a serious political force. pp. 1978. Mosley. How can conservative electoral hegemony under conditions of both mass democracy and socioeconomic crisis in interwar Britain be explained? The literature has pointed to three proximate reasons for this hegemony. especially at the infamous and highly publicized Olympia meeting. Its membership levels never reached their former heights (Pugh. in the seven other cases of democratic survival where the existence of healthy. 1982. 35-36. 275-278. That it nevertheless remained a marginal phenomenon was in the first instance because of widespread revulsion at the movement’s violence and brutality. Ramsden.000 in October 1935. whether alone or in coalition. of a Conservative Party capable of working with parties to its left “in the national interest” yet still containing within its ranks numerous prominent right-wing figures wedded to empire.000 members in July 1934. 347. founded the BUF in October 1932 after meetings with Mussolini and Hitler.Ertman 1013 were of course in government. 2012 . 135). the party grew rapidly. established conservative parties short-circuited the potential appeal of movements further to the right. First. pp. Yet one can also point. in this case in the form of Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists (BUF). several weighty financial backers. and the fight against socialism cut much of the ground away from a far-right nationalist movement. possessing as it did several characteristics shared by the successful fascist parties of Italy and Germany: a charismatic leader.sagepub. reaching a peak of 50. to a deeper reason for the failure of fascism in Britain. Drawing heavily on ex-servicemen. but following the Olympia rally in June 1934. As in all other Western countries during this period. Thurlow. sympathetic coverage in the Rothermere press. whom Richard Thurlow (1987) has called “arguably the finest public speaker in British politics in the twentieth century” (caption plate 16). the BUF enjoyed the financial backing of the press baron Lord Rothermere.com at Universiteit Leiden \ LUMC on February 19. a detailed economic plan. democracy in Britain was confronted with a challenge from the far right. There can be little doubt that at least between 1932 and 1934. The party thereupon adopted anti-Semitism as part of its ideology and in so doing marginalized itself still further. and the disappearance of all Irish seats save those from Ulster (heavily Unionist) from the Westminster Parliament gave the Conservatives Downloaded from cps. This same logic was at work. 30. the retention of the plural business and university votes. and indeed throughout all of the interwar period. I think. 122-123.

Ramsden. 273-275. 1978. 190-192. Pugh. a central feature of Conservative thinking prior to 1914 (Pugh. in the mid1920s party membership stood at about 700. Baldwin’s views on Labour and the working class were also unexpected. pp. 1985. 1985. after the war the latter was largely superseded by newly founded and/or reorganized women’s. Many Conservatives were far less positive about the labor movement than their leader. 1990. Ramsden. 2012 . 270274.to 800. 1982. Baldwin also pushed the party away from its focus on the empire. A final. and a drumbeat of antisocialism emanated from the party throughout the interwar years. As he stated in 1936. Thus. crucial factor behind the Tories’ interwar success was the superiority of the Conservative Party organization built up in the decades prior to World War I and further refined and expanded after 1918. He sympathized with Labour’s goal of providing greater opportunity for working people—and indeed urged that they be granted a greater place within his own party—but thought Labour’s ideas for realizing this goal utopian and impractical. 80-82. The party also made efforts to professionalize the corps of local agents who were responsible for organizing candidates’ electoral campaigns at the behest of Downloaded from cps. Instead. 1990. he supported practical social reforms of the kind introduced by Neville Chamberlain during the late 1920s and 1930s. 1982. McKibbin. compared to 215. as McKibbin and others have stressed (Jarvis. p. 1985. 190. 237-242).com at Universiteit Leiden \ LUMC on February 19. and far more significantly. “I shall always trust the instincts of our democratic people” (Havighurst. 184-189. pp. 1997. workers’ and youth associations. pp. p. Second. however. pp. because he was able to fall back on the one-nation Toryism of Disraeli as a source of legitimation among his own members and activists (Ball. 1978. p. Pugh. 1979.1014 Comparative Political Studies 43(8/9) a structural advantage of perhaps as many as 30 seats compared to Labour during this time (McKibbin. pp. 138. Stanley Baldwin succeeded in shifting the appeal of the Conservatives after 1923 very markedly toward the center of the political spectrum. pp. 214-215).000 direct members for Labour in 1928. Indeed. it was Baldwin’s failure to detect strong popular support for rearmament after 1933 that held back his pursuit of such a policy. 1995.000. 208-213). Pugh. Pugh. Unlike an older generation of leaders like Bonar Law or Curzon. p. Pugh. Baldwin’s “reinvention” of conservatism to take account of the more democratic character of the age was only possible.sagepub. pp. Although before 1914 the party was built around a dual structure of the constituency associations on one hand and the local “habitations” (branches) of the 600.000. he had no trouble acknowledging his commitment to democracy and repeatedly urged his party to pay more attention to the views of ordinary people in general and its own local members in particular. 258). 263.000-strong Primrose League on the other. 1982. 184).

It is hardly surprising. 168. and limitations on corrupt practices. redistricting. 1918) kept Britain on the path of ever-expanding participation and provided both conservative elites and conservative masses alike with much evidence that they had little to fear and much to gain from embracing the increasingly democratic system. suffrage expansion. Yet a hegemonic Conservative Party was not in itself sufficient to ensure that democracy in interwar Britain would remain strong and stable. it seems fair to say that the groundwork for Conservative success under conditions of full democracy after 1918 lay in the party’s acceptance since 1832 of the vagaries of fair and open electoral competition. Finally. p. Thus. pp. 1982. Ramsden. 246-247. 1867. then. As mentioned earlier. In a more general sense. at least over the medium term. the Conservatives were able to provide their older elite supporters with the mass base that permitted them to continue to make their presence felt even after the advent of mass politics. professional. and by building a mass organizational infrastructure. as Tory successes at the polls after 1885 indeed confirmed. Pugh. 297-298. and even that had been possible only because Liberal candidates had by agreement stood down in those constituencies that their junior partner Downloaded from cps. and it was the relatively new Labour Party that quickly came to supplant the divided and demoralized Liberals as that alternative. Labour gained just 371.Ertman 1015 the constituency associations (Ball. by reaching out to newly enfranchised groups. pp.1%) and 42 seats in the last elections before the war (1910). its achievement was nonetheless remarkable given the party’s starting point.sagepub. 2012 .772 votes (7. farmer. 1995. the overlapping memberships of its adherents in business. 78. which the Liberals were no longer capable of challenging after 1918. Pugh. 261-262). and civic groups produced what McKibbin (1990) has called the “informal Conservative hold on bourgeois associational life” (p. A credible alternative was also necessary. however haltingly. every extension of the suffrage (1832. Though Labour won the largest number of seats in only one election— that of 1929—during this period. pp. pp.com at Universiteit Leiden \ LUMC on February 19. 279). the Tories came gradually to abandon attempts to manipulate electoral outcomes and instead to accept. 177-183. By the 1860s they seem to have realized that a substantial reservoir of popular conservatism existed in the country at large and that they could benefit from further democratization. 1884-1885. Whether because of rational insight or popular pressure or both. 198. By creating an ideology of democratic Toryism. 249-257. positive feedback in the form of electoral successes that followed. 273-280. 1985. Ball. 1994. 1978. that they remained committed to that system during the crisis-ridden 1920s and 1930s.

6%. Furthermore. Butler & Sloman. what can? The roots of this success do appear to lie in the pre-1914 period. pp.5% (142 seats). and changed their place of residence frequently. the franchise restrictions in force prior to the introduction of universal suffrage fell on those who lived at home. The former argument contends that profound socioeconomic changes under way during the late Victorian and Edwardian eras. Labour was already garnering 22.com at Universiteit Leiden \ LUMC on February 19. only to reach a temporary apogee of 37. 1997. 1997. pp. rented certain kinds of lodging. If neither the extension of the franchise nor socioeconomic change before 1914 can account for the Labour Party’s success after 1918. mentioned above. Martin Pugh. Tanner. 107-113). 1982. The Liberals themselves had received nearly 2. preordained the eclipse of the Liberals by Labour as the representative of a newly class-conscious. 114-116). 1975. 138-141. In fact. which Downloaded from cps. 1982. falling from 288 to 52. including the decline of religion and a rise in trade unionism and industrial conflict. majoritarian working class. commercial travelers. Recent literature has served to discredit several older explanations for Labour’s rise. and servants.9% (142 seats. from the sons of dukes living on their family estate to students.sagepub. but in the realm of politics more than that of social stratification. 37. 182-183). there now exists much evidence that Labour took over as the principal opposition between the wars because it was the rightful inheritor of the Liberal-led progressivism. but the popular vote held up fairly well at 30. and by 1935 Labour was able to bounce back and achieve its highest ever share of the vote. the claim that newly enfranchised workers would naturally support Labour is belied by the fact. Eight years later. The claim that Labour was bound to profit from the expansion of the suffrage after 1918 has likewise been shown to rest on empirically shaky ground. as this theory predicts should have happened (Pugh. the party suffered a disastrous loss of seats in 1931. and these categories contained men of all classes.9%) and 272 seats in this same contest. that the Conservatives gained a majority of working-class votes throughout the 1930s (Pugh. pp. Tanner.1% (288 seats) in 1929. pp. 142-145. it has been shown that neither changes in class structure nor the introduction of universal suffrage in 1918 can account for the party’s rapid success. for it wrongly assumes that most men excluded from the vote under the 1884 Reform Act were working class and that those men would vote for Labour when granted the opportunity to do so. Thus. pp. True.2% of the vote. 2012 .1016 Comparative Political Studies 43(8/9) contested. and others have failed to uncover convincing evidence that Labour was overtaking the Liberals before 1914. and by 1922 this figure had jumped yet again to 29. Thus. Yet reexaminations of the electoral data by Duncan Tanner.3 million votes (43.

2012 . which provided both funds and election workers at the grassroots level. Phillips. pp. pp. It was the close ideological and personal ties between Labour and the Liberals that made possible their continuing. moved sharply to the right. 1982. 1982. 1992. The result was that the two Liberal groupings that emerged from the war abandoned a vast electoral space on the Center-Left to Labour. 35-37. which had been occupied for over a century by various currents of British radicalism before new liberalism laid claim to it. pp. and indeed nearly all of its leaders and many of its members and voters were past or even current members of the Liberal Party. and it was their presence that permitted Labour to launch a national campaign when opportunity knocked. 1990. pp. Yet this campaign could bear fruit only because Labour also remained true to the language and traditions of British radicalism and progressivism rooted in a very long Downloaded from cps. Such affiliated bodies were already active in 143 constituencies in 1913 and 246 more in 1918. 426-435). 65-67.Ertman 1017 had been the dominant political force in British politics in the decade before World War I but which was abandoned by the Liberals themselves during the war (G. This space. 171-172. fielding 388 candidates in 1918 and 411 in 1922. especially in the immediate postwar years (G. Pugh.com at Universiteit Leiden \ LUMC on February 19. pp. 419-442). Phillips. though sometimes strained. pp. The liberalism of 1906 to 1914 was no longer the minimalist state doctrine of the Victorian era but the “New Liberalism” of Hobson and Hobhouse that stood for state-led social reform financed by progressive taxation—embodied in Lloyd George’s “people’s budget” of 1909 and his National Insurance Act of 1911—in addition to the more traditional radical doctrines as free trade and universal suffrage. Tanner. Tanner.sagepub. 115-136). and his opponent Asquith was unwilling or unable to uphold the banner of new liberalism in his stead. In most other respects the party concurred fully with the “new liberal” program. collaboration in the “progressive alliance” right down to 1914 (Pugh. it had done so primarily to increase the number of working men in Parliament and to protect trade union rights. 1992. its most prominent representative. Labour was able to take advantage of this situation in the first instance because it already possessed the organizational capacity to do so in the form of affiliated trade unions and trade councils. The withdrawal of both Liberal leaderships from this space created an opportunity for Labour. 1990. Although the Labour Party had established itself in 1906 (and the Labour Representation Committee before it in 1900) as an independent political group. had long been the political home of many groups above and beyond the trade union-affiliated working class. World War I changed all this because during its course Liberalism largely abandoned progressivism. Lloyd George.

1018 Comparative Political Studies 43(8/9) period of parliamentarism and party competition prior to 1914. then. who cleverly positioned themselves as the party willing to defend the English working man’s traditional pleasures of beer and billiards and held many meetings in public houses (Harrison. and members of traditional Liberal groups such as Nonconformists and the Irish as well as first-time voters from Liberal families to switch their allegiance between 1918 and 1929 to Labour from the broken wreck of the Liberal Party. 257-258. pp. It was the mixed-class support base of both parties. Thus. As historians have increasingly come to realize. run aground while its captains fought among themselves (Pugh. a strong element of continuity links the critical juncture of 1828 to 1835 with the introduction and consolidation of full democracy almost a century later. 1970. It was the familiarity of Labour’s positions and rhetoric. Parry. however. 1996.sagepub. Nossiter. Irish disestablishment. In summary. 80-81. rather than their novelty. 199-204). 429. Liberal leader W. 1982. 177-180. pp. 2012 . 5-8. E. 147. state support for confessional schools–to bind this group to the more moderate (and aristocratic) Whig-liberals who shared the Nonconformist wish to limit the privileges of the established church. to a significant degree induced by the religious cleavage. women. 245-246. that in turn led Liberals as well as Conservatives to support suffrage extensions in 1867 and 1884-1885. 291-292.com at Universiteit Leiden \ LUMC on February 19. pp. Despite the isomorphism between Labour and the Liberals touched on above. a fact that points to the limits of path dependence. Tanner. 181-182. the fact remains that the Liberal Party self-destructed Downloaded from cps. 1990. pp. that tradition of 19thcentury progressivism as embodied in the Liberal Party—and indeed the bipolar party landscape of which it was a part—itself owed much to the role played by religion in the wake of the 1832 Reform Act in creating crosscutting cleavages that would persist through the interwar period and beyond. which led many nonunion workers. 1986. pp. 435). On the other hand. the two parties that emerged after 1832 were not the same two parties that successfully defended democracy during the interwar period. from the 1860s onward the most important component of the Liberal Party were dissenting Protestants from the Midlands and the north who furnished the party with its most fervent activists and reliable voters. the image of the Liberals as dominated culturally by “killjoy” teetotalers and puritan moralists drove many in the working class to vote for the Tories. This element of continuity is to be found above all in the domination within the political system as a whole of two multiclass parties committed to parliamentary procedures and capable of working together for the greater good of the country. Gladstone then skillfully used a number of issues with a religious component—Church rates. At the same time.

sagepub.e. More specifically. the existence of strong Right and Center-Right parties that see themselves as standing up well to fair political competition is an important prerequisite for the survival of a democratic system in the face of sustained crises. in France clerical/anticlerical) as a cross-cutting cleavage. an outcome that no one foresaw prior to 1914 and one that carries more than a whiff of contingency. rather than being subsumed within a larger. they emerged as heterogeneous “peoples’ parties” and united supporters from several classes and regions thanks to the role played—as Andrew Gould (1999) as emphasized—by religious differences (in Britain Catholic/Nonconformist/Church of England. thanks to a willingness on the part of predemocratic elites to risk competition in the hope of finding an effective way to safeguard their long-term interests. 2009) late nation building meant that religious differences. As a result.. Yet the creation of such parties at the moment of full democratization is not enough—they have to have been in place much earlier. Conclusion What broader conclusions can we draw from the British and the more general western European experience of democratization up through World War II? The evidence seems to suggest that during the period immediately after the advent of full democracy. In those cases in which competition between these two forces (in Britain Liberals and Conservatives) remained open and unfettered. uninterrupted) democratic consolidation and survival found in Western Europe prior to 1945. as they are in Canada. dualistic political Downloaded from cps. when older. where in my view (Ertman. early state and nation building led to the emergence of two political camps—those of the reformers and their opponents—that during the 19th century in the wake of some critical event (in Britain the reform episode of 1828-1835) crystallized into a political system centered around two competing parties or party camps. The alternative pattern is found in Kalyvas’s (1996) Christian Democratic cases. above all religious cleavages acting during the formative period of 19th century party systems. Had the Liberals been led by someone other than Lloyd George and Asquith. they might well still be a party of government today.com at Universiteit Leiden \ LUMC on February 19. predemocratic elites may still be powerful and a large reservoir of popular conservatism of whatever type may be present. 2012 .Ertman 1019 during World War I. conservative forces were able to become multiclass mass movements not only in Britain but also in France and Scandinavia. the British case seems to exemplify one of two paths toward successful (i. In this pattern. and it was these forces that played a pivotal role in defending democracy from far right challenges during the interwar years.

Local conservatism and the evolution of party organisation.. London. Butler. and finally. would later work together with secular rivals to defend democratic institutions that had permitted them to build extensive. The electoral system in Britain since 1918 (2nd ed. third. points to four lessons that. (1973). vote rigging. that conservative forces best serve the interests of their supporters over the long run by engaging in free political competition rather than employing strategies of manipulation (party proscriptions. (1975). Oxford.). Oxford.  Multiple citations indicate that the claims put forward in the preceding paragraph are based on several sources. legislative emasculation). D. once again when allowed to compete openly and fairly. I would argue. UK: Macmillan. (Eds. Seldon & S. (1994). London. In A. S. (1995). The Conservative Party in British politics 1902-1951. might still be relevant for today’s democratizers: first. Downloaded from cps. The study of critical junctures: Theory. narrative and counterfactuals in historical institutionalism.). G. brought forth confessional parties that. 59.. D. References Ball. Ball (Eds. S. World Politics. London. Butler. that there is more than one path to durable democracy. Financial Disclosure/Funding The author received no financial support for the research and/or authorship of this article. UK: Longman.com at Universiteit Leiden \ LUMC on February 19. E. D. The Great Reform Act. selfcontained religious life worlds (consociationalism). & Sloman. 341-369. (1963).). second. UK: Oxford University Press. UK: Clarendon.sagepub. that religious differences and movements can play a positive role in processes of liberalization and democratization.). Brock. Declaration of Conflicting Interests The author declared no potential conflicts of interests with respect to the authorship and/or publication of this article. that a strong constitutionalist Right is crucial for successful democratic consolidation. despite vast differences in the international economic and institutional environment. A. Capoccia. R. (2007). Note 1. 261-314). & Kelemen. M.1020 Comparative Political Studies 43(8/9) landscape. Thus the European past. Ball. 2012 . Conservative century: The Conservative Party since 1900 (pp. UK: Hutchinson University Library. British political facts 1900-1975 (4th ed.

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