Representation of Birmingham People
6th February 1918 the British Parliament voted for 'The Representation of the People Act', extending the vote to working class men and for the first time, some women.
The vote marked years of campaigning in Birmingham, gradually moving towards 'Universal Suffrage'. People like Thomas Attwood and his Birmingham Political Union had started debate to reform the House of Commons,"the seat of ignorance, imbecility and indifference".
Birmingham People were campaigning to have their voices heard. The Act led to radical changes in our political system around participation, representation and changes in our society in Birmingham, the UK and the World.
Do you think your voice is heard?
Do you think voting leads to your voice being heard in Politics today? (please click on other for comment)
What changed after 1918?
Extending the vote to working class men, to a small number of women and taking the vote away from Conscientious Objectors led to more campaigning around voting reform, but also housing, employment rights, health, maternity and child welfare.
Following the act new political movements grew, including Peace, Co-operative, Labour, Communist, Nationalist and Fascist movements. At the same time, refugees fleeing conflict and political persecution brought a new perspective and influenced political debate in Birmingham.
Should we celebrate the Representation of the People Act in Birmingham?
Do you think more needs to be done to make clear what Birmingham people did to fight for the right to vote? (please click on other for comment)
Do you think we should be looking more closely at how our voice is heard in politics today?
(please click on other for comment)
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People's Heritage Co-operative promotes and raises awareness of peoples heritage to increase understanding of our diverse heritage. To find out more visit our website:
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