The Constitution of England from Queen Victoria to George VI - Vol. 2

The Constitution of England from Queen Victoria to George VI - Vol. 2

The Constitution of England from Queen Victoria to George VI - Vol. 2

The Constitution of England from Queen Victoria to George VI - Vol. 2

Excerpt

The growth of the influence of public opinion on Government was strongly promoted by the removal of the repressive measures imposed on the press under the influence of the conservative reaction evoked by the French revolution. Of the six Acts of 1819 one struck at the pamphlets and papers which were freely in circulation and encouraging resistance to the autocratic attitude of the ministry, and it was not until 1836 that the stamp duty on newspapers was reduced from fourpence to a penny and not until 1855 was it abolished. There remained as an obstacle to the wide circulation of newspapers the paper duty, and Mr. Gladstone removed that incubus in 1861. Free libraries, the cheapening of newspapers, the multiplication of books, have all tended to increase largely, in conjunction with the spread of higher education, the number of persons who are capable of forming intelligent opinions on political issues, and more recently the adoption of the policy of educating the public by broadcast lectures and debates has presented the public with amazing facilities for mastering the essentials of important problems.

Further, the knowledge of Parliamentary proceedings has been extended widely since the advent of the Queen to the throne. The labours of Cobbett resulted in the . . .

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