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1265 Parliament established. It contains 2 chambers. One is 'the Lords' - unelected aristocrats. The other is 'the Commons'. These Members of Parliament (MPs) are smaller landowners and are elected only by male landowners.
1642-60 English Civil War. This is a war between the Parliament and the King for who has control of the state. King Charles I is executed and England is briefly a Republic. In 1660 the monarchy is returned, but it never regains its power. From now on, the Prime Minister, chosen by Parliament has the most influence.
1707 Act of Union unites England/Wales and Scotland. The United Kingdom is now formed.
1819 The Peterloo Massacre. A mass demonstration in favour of universal male suffrage is attacked by troops and 15 people are killed.
1832 Great Reform Act. Before this time only landowners could vote for MPs to sit in the House of Commons. This meant 1 in 7 men could vote. (440,000 people) After 1832 the male urban middle classes gain the vote, and so the electorate increases to 1 in 5 men (650,000 people).
1867 Second Reform Act. This extends the vote to the skilled urban male working class. The electorate increases to 1 in 3 men.
1884 Third Reform Act. The vote is now given to working class men in the countryside. The electorate is now 2 out of 3 men.
1918 Representation of the People Act. Almost all men over 21 years old, and women over 30 years old now have the vote.
1928 Effectively all women and men over 21 now have the vote.
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