UNDEMOCRATIC SURVIVALS IN ENGLAND: BRITISH ELECTIONS AFTER 1885
NOTHING better illustrates the British genius for practical politics than the history of electoral reform. It is the story of the gradual application of comparatively slight alterations in a system essentially sound, but which in its growth and development required grafting here and excision there,--reform founded upon the basis of actual experience. There has been no sudden revolution, no doctrinaire construction of systems cut out of whole cloth; there has been no attempt to secure a new system as you would buy a new suit of clothes, but rather a cautious amelioration of particular conditions which were obviously wrong, so that no shock has been administered to the framework of the system, which after all has served its purpose well. The outstanding characteristic of British electoral reform has been the spirit of compromise, which in nine cases out of ten forms the essence of wise statesmanship.
But although the British method of reform is safe and on the whole eminently wise, the process must be perpetual. No reform can be final, for each leaves untouched defects of minor importance which sooner or later, either because of their peculiar character or because of the march of events, become of major importance and demand remedy. So it was in the case of the reforms of
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Publication information: Book title: How the World Votes:The Story of Democratic Development in Elections. Volume: 1. Contributors: Charles Seymour - Author, Donald Paige Frary - Author. Publisher: C. A. Nichols Company. Place of publication: Springfield, MA. Publication year: 1918. Page number: 146.
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