Perspective: How to Win Elections without the Right to Vote

The Birmingham Post (England), June 2, 2004 | Go to article overview

Perspective: How to Win Elections without the Right to Vote


Byline: Chris Upton

Thomas Attwood sits on the steps in Chamberlain Square, contemplating his next speech. When people ask me who he was (the explanation is on the wall several yards away) I give the simple version: he was Birmingham's first MP.

The full explanation is more than most people need or want: that in 1832 Birmingham was awarded two seats in the newly reformed Commons, and Thomas Attwood and Joshua Scholefield were returned unopposed to fill them.

There was the same result three years later, except that in 1835 Messrs Attwood and Scholefield did not have the ballot box to themselves. A Tory - Richard Spooner - stood against them and polled 915 votes.

A tiny return for a general election, you might think, but the franchise in the 1830s was limited to those male householders who paid more than pounds 10 a year in rent. Thus there were only around 5,000 voters in a town of 125,000 people.

But was the result in 1835 the right one ? The United States and Zimbabwe do not necessarily have the monopoly on dodgy elections. 19th-century Britain had some dirty laundry as well, at least until William Gladstone's Corrupt and Illegal Practices Act of 1883.

Such, at least, was the opinion of Mr John Gilbert, a Birmingham wine merchant and pub owner, who in June 1835 found himself in front of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Bribery at Elections. Mr Gilbert was convinced that intimidation and threat had prevented the Tory candidate, Richard Spooner, from taking his rightful place in the House of Commons.

John Gilbert was himself a Tory and so, you could argue, he would think that, wouldn't he ?

But Gilbert was also a trader and publican, based in the Bull Ring, and like his ilk before and since, he kept his ear to the ground.

'Was there extensive intimidation in practice at the last election ?' asked the committee.

'Yes, there was,' replied Mr Gilbert. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Perspective: How to Win Elections without the Right to Vote
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.