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The Inheritance
Reform to 1850
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The Voice of Radicalism

Radicalism in Scotland - The Inheritance

In the early nineteenth century Scotland's political system gave power to very few people.

  • Councillors serving on the Royal Burghs were not elected to these positions. They themselves decided who should serve on the council
  • Rich landowners controlled county government
  • There were less than 3,000 Parliamentary electors in the whole of Scotland.

An Act of 1715 took away the right of church congregations to elect their ministers.

  • The Church was responsible for education and social welfare, yet: Un-elected councillors and landowners appointed ministers

Radical ideas offered fundamental change. The key to that change was electoral reform. Before the Great Reform Act of 1832, more requests for reform were received from Scotland than from anywhere elsewhere in the United Kingdom.

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