The Political Economy of Suffrage Reform: The Great Reform Act of 1832

  • 15 Oct 2019

    12:30-14:00, Clay Room, Nuffield College

  • Political Science Seminars   Add to Calendar
Speaker: Gary Cox

William Bennett Munro Professor in Political Science, Stanford University

Abstract: Prominent scholars have viewed the Great Reform Act as a concession made by incumbent elites in order to defuse a revolutionary threat. In this essay, we argue that the threat from below did not entail a significant risk of regime overthrow and was addressed by establishing professional police forces in all provincial towns and half the counties. Such forces had been stoutly opposed by the gentry since the Glorious Revolution, on the grounds that they would increase Crown power too much. To make professional police forces palatable to the middle class required first reforming both budgets and elections at all levels of governance (national, municipal and county), so as to ensure taxpayers that their representatives would control the finances of the new forces

The Political Science Seminar Series is convened by Andy EggersEzequiel Gonzalez Ocantos and David RuedaFor more information on this or any of the seminars in the series, please contact