A History Girl

Once a month I blog for The History Girls. Here’s an excerpt from my latest blog, about the vagaries of elections in eighteenth century England.

I’ve spoken to several friends who feel that there have been too many elections lately and that voting, far from being a privilege, is a bit of a bore. It’s worth remembering that in this country women didn’t get the vote until 1928, there was no secret ballot until 1872 and until the Reform Act was passed in 1832 voting was a very different experience.

You had to be a male freeholder with an income of at least forty shillings a year – about 250,000 men. Voting was by a show of hands and each man had to go to the Returning Officer and register his vote. If you lived in the country, as most people did, the local Squire could scrutinise the poll book to make sure his tenants voted the ‘right’ way. If necessary the candidate’s agent would take voters to the polling booth and bribe them with beer and beef.

You can read the full post at The History Girls blog.