when and why did democracy was created in britain?

3 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
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    Basically it evolved over many centuries.

    The Saxon Kings had a Witan or Council which they consulted before making decisions. This was before the Norman invasion of 1066.

    The Norman Kings established their rule following the invasion. In 1215 the then King John was forced to sign a charter known as Magna Carta, granting the Nobles certain rights.

    Parliament evolved over the centuries until 1642 when things came to a head with the revolt of Parliament against King Charles I. The resulting Civil War lasted until 1649 when King Charles was defeated and put to death. The main grievance against him had been that he had exercised Divine Right, i.e. acting as if he was accountable only to God. Parliament would not tolerate this. They wanted to be the legislature, not the King.

    From 1649 until 1660 England was a republic (known at that time as the Commonwealth) ruled by Oliver and Richard Cromwell (father and son). In 1660 Richard Cromwell died and King Charles II (son of Charles I) returned to the throne. Charles II was more willing to listen to Parliament and was generally better at managing the nation's affairs than his father but it wasn't until 1688 that a law was passed making Parliament the legislature, i.e. the Bill of Rights.

    Until the 19th century Parliament was the home of privileged men, mostly of the upper class or the wealthier middle class. There was also corruption, e.g. the 'Rotten Boroughs' which were places that returned an MP at each election even though nobody lived there.

    The first law to redress this was the 1832 Parliamentary Reform Act, but it took many more laws and most of the 19th century before even all men had the vote (1878 Representation of the People Act) and another 50 years before women had the vote on equal terms with men.

    Throughout the 19th and early 20th century there were popular movements for democracy, such as the Chartists, who wanted annual elections, a secret ballot, universal manhood suffrage, and other reforms, the womens' suffrage movement, and the trade unions who formed the Labour Representation Committee, aka the Labour Party, in 1900.

    Laws passed in the 20th century include that placing limits on the power of the House of Lords, those giving the vote to women, and that lowering the voting age from 21 to 18.

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  • 1 decade ago

    The first step towards it was the Magna Carta, when a number of the barons were discontented with King John's abuses of power and forced him to accept some restrictions, set out in Magna Carta. One provision of Magna Carta was the creation of a royal council to advise the king. Originally the only function of the royal council was to approve taxes, but as the council often demanded that grievances be addressed before it would decide to approve taxes, it started to take on the functions of government.

    In 1265, there was a rebellion against the king and Simon de Montfort summoned a rebel Parliament which for the first time contained representatives of each area of the country who were elected - he was the first ever to insist that they were elected. Edward I followed that model in his Model Parliament of 1295. Ever since then, Parliament has gradually evolved to become more and more democratic - originally, only the richest people could vote, but the power to vote has been expanded slowly over time until now, almost anyone over 18 can vote.

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  • 1 decade ago

    It all started when King John got out of control, and all the other lesser noblemen banded together and force him to sign the Magna Carta which was the model for the US Constitution. To day this no English noblemen that could be king have the name John. This king was that bad.

    The Magna Carta (Great Charter) evolved allowing Britain to create the Parliamentary System of government it has today.

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