By N. H. Brasher (auth.)
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Extra info for Arguments in History: Britain in the Nineteenth Century
Children were separated from parents, and husbands from wives, for the poor were already too numerous and should not be permitted to produce a new generation of paupers. Discipline was severe and food was sparse. The tyranny of the new arrangements did not even have the merit of efficiency. The Poor Law Commission Report had advocated that separate workhouses should be created for the different groups of paupers, the sick, the mad, the old, the young, the able-bodied. In practice this was ignored.
Prelude Party labels at any period in history are apt to be misleading. s from the same party may differ sharply from their colleagues on matters of detail, or emphasis, or even principle. If these differences exist today among members of the same party it is reasonable to expect party ties to have been much looser in the 1830s. Parliament was then dominated by men of independent mind and means, who had entered politics because it was the tradition of many of their class to do so. They did not fear responsibility though at times they were bored by it.
Grey's demand was a bold one, since the Whigs themselves were far from united on the issue of rationalising the voting system. Nevertheless, in spite of the doubts of his supporters, the derision of his opponents, the obstructionism of the House of Lords, and the wavering of the King over the creation of enough peers to ensure the passage of the Bill through the House of Lords, the Reform Bill was passed. Grey's achievement was a triumph of determination. The anomalies of over-representation of the lesser boroughs and under-representation of the new industrial centres were to 1 Historians differ on the importance of Benthamism.