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The History of Democracy: A British Value

The History of Democracy: A British Value


One of the key British values is democracy and to understand why it’s so important you have to firstly understand the history of democracy. There are 4 key events that lead to the development of modern British values; the Magna Carta, the Reform Act 1832, Universal Suffrage and finally the 1969 Representation of the People Act. We will be talking about these VERY briefly to not bore you! 

The Magna Carta 

Published in 1215 in Runnymede, Windsor, Magna Carta translates to the “Great Charter” and it was the beginning of the formation of democracy in Great Britain. It was created to make peace between the unpopular King John and a group of rebellious barons, to ensure that no one is above the law, even the king!  

The Reform Act 1832 

We have to fast forward another 617 years to see the next huge step towards modern democracy. Until this point, constituencies were represented by a very small proportion of the population, in some there were only 12 people who could vote for an MP. It changed it to equal out the size of constituencies, preventing extremely wealthy individuals from dominating parliament, as more of the population could vote for their local MP. 

Voting is part of the British Value Democracy

Universal Suffrage 

In 1928 the Equal Franchise Act was created. Up until this point, women were not allowed to vote. The development of this legislation ensured that both men and women could vote at the age of 21. 

Representation of the People Act 1969 

We’ve reached the final piece of major democratic legislation passed for the establishment of UK democracy. The act lowered the voting age to 18 years, the age at which you are legally an adult in the UK. 

Hopefully, you’ve made it through the article and now understand why democracy is such an important British value to preserve and respect. It took over 800 years to reach the point of which it is now! 

It is clear that democracy is an integral part of British values and society. It is important to appreciate and understand this history in order to continue upholding these values and strive for even greater equality and representation.Together, we can continue to shape a better future for ourselves and generations to come.

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Toby Greenfield

Toby is our Learner Engagement Marketing Apprentice and is involved with all things social media and content development. He is also responsible for attending careers events and delivering presentations. Toby is dedicated to showcasing the apprenticeship opportunities available for individuals and businesses to embark upon.

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