Comparative Studies in Society and History

Research Article

Voting Patterns in the British House of Commons in the 1840s

William O. Aydelottea1

a1 State University of Iowa

In the 1840s, the time of Sir Robert Peel's great ministry, the British House of Commons debated and voted upon a number of substantial political issues. The Parliament of 1841–47 not only repealed the Corn Laws; it also placed on the statute books important legislation regulating factories, banks, railways and mines. It approved the income tax, reintroduced by Peel in 1842, and the Poor Law, which was renewed in 1842 and again in 1847. It discussed and voted upon, though it was far from approving, proposals for the extension of the franchise, the adoption of the secret ballot and the restriction of the special legal privileges of landowners. There were divisions as well on various aspects of the Irish question, religious questions and the position of the Church of England, army reform, fiscal reform and other matters.