The Secret Ballot: The Secret to Reducing Electoral Violence?

In July 1872, 150 years ago this month, the Ballot Act introduced the secret ballot to all UK parliamentary and local elections. Here guest blogger Dr Gary Hutchison, of the Causes and Consequences of Electoral Violence project, discusses how the secret ballot affected violence at elections. An Interactive Map of over 3,000 violent events, from individual assaults to riots, can be found on their website. … Continue reading The Secret Ballot: The Secret to Reducing Electoral Violence?

Ballot boxes, bills and unions: Harriet Grote (1792-1878) and the public campaign for the ballot, 1832-9

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the 1872 Ballot Act, which introduced secret voting at general elections in the UK. In this extended blog, Dr Martin Spychal, research fellow in our House of Commons 1832-68 project, explores the role of Harriet Grote (1792-1878) in the popular and parliamentary campaign for the ballot during the 1830s. On 18 July we will be marking the anniversary of the Ballot … Continue reading Ballot boxes, bills and unions: Harriet Grote (1792-1878) and the public campaign for the ballot, 1832-9

Local polls and national politics: a 19th century perspective

As much of the UK prepares to vote in local elections this week, in this blog (adapted from our Victorian Commons site), Dr Philip Salmon discusses the origins of 19th century council elections and how they quickly became guides to national polls. As barometers of political opinion, local elections have long had a special place in British politics, offering useful (though not necessarily accurate) guides … Continue reading Local polls and national politics: a 19th century perspective

‘As in your wisdom you shall think meet’: Remote working in Parliament in the early modern period

In this special collaborative blog, members of the History of Parliament’s two House of Lords sections, Dr Andrew Thrush, editor of the Elizabethan Lords, and Dr Stuart Handley, senior research fellow for the Lords 1715-90, consider ways in which the upper House established ways of remote working in the days before Zoom… Contrary to what one might suppose, ‘remote working’ is nothing new in parliamentary … Continue reading ‘As in your wisdom you shall think meet’: Remote working in Parliament in the early modern period

Parliament versus the People: the Newport rising of 1839

Today marks the 180th anniversary of the Newport rising when government forces and Welsh Chartists clashed in the town of Newport. Here’s Dr Philip Salmon, editor of our House of Commons 1832-68 project, with more… The Newport rising ranks alongside the Peterloo massacre as an iconic episode in the struggle for popular political rights in pre-democratic Britain. In November 1839 around 10,000 disaffected and poorly … Continue reading Parliament versus the People: the Newport rising of 1839

Voting and not voting in Cromwellian Scotland

Today, on St Andrew’s Day we have a Scotland themed blog from Dr Patrick Little of the House of Commons 1640-1660 Section as part of our Patron Saints series. He discusses voting in Cromwellian Scotland… Nowadays the Scots have the reputation for being enthusiastic voters. Recent General Elections have seen more than two-thirds of the electorate casting their ballots (71% in 2015, 67% in 2017) … Continue reading Voting and not voting in Cromwellian Scotland