The Property Qualifications of Members of Parliament

The Property Qualifications of Members of Parliament

The Property Qualifications of Members of Parliament

The Property Qualifications of Members of Parliament

Excerpt

It is commonly agreed that the second World War of the twentieth century grimly portrays a struggle between the forces of totalitarianism and democracy. While the opening years of this war brought striking success to the Fascist countries, nevertheless, it was the British people who won praise and admiration, for their democratic government was able to withstand the mighty war machine of the enemy. The British government valiantly attacked the problems of war, and yet in the midst of the most devastating war of all ages, it found time to formulate post-war plans for the betterment of the people. Democracy was broadening its base; henceforth a true democracy would include far-reaching economic and social reforms.

Contemporary events focused attention on the British system, which had developed through evolution rather than revolution. The story of the growth of British democracy is a familiar one to the average reader of history. Strangely enough, this well- known story includes little material on the subject of property qualifications of members of parliament. The importance of the Qualification Act of 1710 in the history of the kingdom will always remain debatable. Writers and historians are divided on the subject. Some maintain that the Act was never enforced, while others vehemently assert that the Act preserved the political structure of the nation. Such alternate condemnation and praise of the Qualification Act aroused the interest of the writer and resulted in this book. The sole purpose of the work is to trace the colorful history of the Act, which truly depicts the perennial struggle between the forces of liberalism and conservatism.

The early history of the Qualification Act goes back to the period when the Julian Calendar was used by the people of the British Isles. To avoid confusion in the matter of chronology, the Old Style Calendar has been used throughout this book. Double dates, such as the Qualification Act of 1710/1711, are . . .

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