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A-Level Politics

"I can confirm, I am not a potato"

Hello and welcome to this revision page on Luca's site for all other Mayfield Grammar School sixth formers studying A-Level Politics. This page has most of the content for the qualification in note format which has been gathered in class, from Wills library's books or from other sites on the internet.

If any information on this page is incorrect please approach me in the common room or email me at

About Paper 1

Here at Mayfield Grammar School, Edexcel is the selected exam board for A-Level Politics which requires pupils to study Paper 1: UK Politics and Core Political Ideas.

There are two compulsory sections to this component: UK Politics and Core Political Ideas.

This section (UK Politics) explores the nature of politics and how people engage in the political process in the UK.

Students will investigate in detail how people and politics interact. They will explore the emergence and development of the UK’s democratic system and the similarities, differences, connections and parallels between direct and indirect democracy. They will focus on the role and scope of political parties that are so central to contemporary politics, including the significance of the manifestos they publish at election time and their relevance to the mandate of the resulting government.

This section (UK Politics) allows students to understand the individual in the political process and their relationship with the state and their fellow citizens. Students will examine how electoral systems in the UK operate and how individuals and groups are influenced in their voting behaviour and political actions. This component will further examine the role of the media in contemporary politics. It will also give students an understanding of voting patterns and voting behaviour.

This section (Core Political Ideas) allows students to explore the three traditional political ideas of conservatism, liberalism and socialism. Students will learn about the core ideas and principles and how they apply in practice to human nature, the state, society and the economy, the divisions within each idea and their key thinkers.


• Students must comprehend and interpret political information in relation to areas of UK politics and core political ideas.
• Students must fully understand, and critically analyse and evaluate areas of UK politics and core political ideas.
• Students must identify parallels, connections, similarities and differences between the content studied, providing a basis for comparing the UK with the USA and appreciating the UK’s position in global politics.
• Students must construct and communicate arguments and explanations with relevance, clarity and coherence, and draw reasoned conclusions about UK politics and core political ideas.
• Students must develop knowledge and understanding of key political concepts. The content supports these skills by presenting the main content for learning on the righthand side of the content tables.
• Students must use appropriate vocabulary. The content supports this skill by listing key terminology in each content area on the left-hand side of the content table. The lists are to support the teaching of the main content and help students to use appropriate vocabulary in assessment. Students should, therefore, familiarise themselves with the definitions of key terminology for each section.


Here's all the content and their notecode. Click on your desired topic or lesson that's listed below which will redirect you to all the lessons and notes written about the subject.

UK Politics and Core Political Ideas

A. Democracy and Participation

B. Political Parties

C. Electoral Systems

D. Voting Behaviour and the Media

E. Conservatism 

F. Liberalism

G. Socialism

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A. Democracy and Participation

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Autumn 2023  |  A-Level Politics  |  1st Paper

Democracy is a system of government in which state power is vested in the people or the general population of a state. Here in the UK, we have a democracy with an extensive franchise, thanks to the efforts of suffrage movements in the past. Yet, despite our right to vote in Britain and the strength of the people's power, citizens' participation in politics has decreased, which begs the question 'why?'

"We are here, not because we are law-breakers; we are here in our efforts to become law-makers"
— Emmeline Pankhurst, 1908

A1. Current Systems of Representative Democracy and Direct Democracy
A2. A Wider Franchise and Debates Over Suffrage
A3. Pressure Groups and Other Influences.
A4. Rights in Context

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A0 | The Key Terminology Glossary

This glossary is provided to help centres to teach students about subject-specific key terms. The list is not exhaustive and centres are free to add to the glossary as appropriate.

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  • Legitimacy 

    • The rightful use of power in accordance with pre-set criteria or widely-held agreements, such as a government’s right to rule following an election or a monarch’s succession based on the agreed rules.

  • Direct Democracy

    • All individuals express their opinions themselves and not through representatives acting on their behalf. This type of democracy emerged in Athens in classical times and direct democracy can be seen today in referendums.

  • Representative Democracy

    • A more modern form of democracy through which an individual selects a person (and/or political party) to act on their behalf to exercise political choice. 

  • Pluralist Democracy

    • A type of democracy in which a government makes decisions as a result of the interplay of various ideas and contrasting arguments from competing groups and organisations.

  • Democratic Deficit 

    • A flaw in the democratic process where decisions are taken by people who lack legitimacy, not having been appointed with sufficient democratic input or subject to accountability.

  • Participation Crisis

    • A lack of engagement by a significant number of citizens to relate to the political process either by choosing not to vote or to join or become members of political parties or to offer themselves for public office.

  • Franchise/Suffrage

    • Franchise and suffrage both refer to the ability/right to vote in public elections. Suffragettes were women campaigning for the right to vote on the same terms as men.

  • Think Tanks 

    • A body of experts brought together to collectively focus on a certain topic(s) – to investigate and offer solutions to often complicated and seemingly intractable economic, social or political issues.

  • Lobbyists

    • A lobbyist is paid by clients to try to influence the government and/or MPs and members of the House of Lords to act in their clients’ interests, particularly when legislation is under consideration.

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A1. The Current Systems of Representative and Direct Democracy 

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This subtopic sees the lessons of the Features of Direct Democracy and Representative Democracy; the Similarities and Differences between Direct Democracy and Representative Democracy; the Advantages and Disadvantages of Direct Democracy and Representative Democracy; the Levels and Forms of Representation in the UK's Representative Democracy; the Consideration of the Case for Reform.

A11 | The Features of Direct Democracy and Representative Democracy

The features of direct democracy and representative democracy.

  • What’s Democracy

    • Democracy means simply ‘rule by the people’

    • It comes from the Greek word ‘demokratia’

      • ‘Demo’ meaning ‘people

      • ‘Kratia’ meaning power

      • Essentially it means people’s power

    • Democracy originates from Athens in Ancient Greece 

    • Democratic systems of government give citizens a say in the choosing of politicians who make the decisions they’re bound to  

    • Most countries in the modern world are democratic 

    • A few countries in recent centuries have been undemocratic which means the people in those states have very little to no power in politics

      • Examples of recent undemocratic states include: North Korea, the USSR and Nazi Germany

  • Types of Democracy

    • There are a number of different types of democracy in history

      • For example: 

        • Representative Democracy: where citizens elect representatives to formulate legislation and make other decisions on their behalf 

        • Parliamentary Democracy: where the Executive is part of the government and is drawn from the elected legislature 

        • Majoritarian Democracy: where the government is based on the majority support of those who inhabit the given territory 

        • Direct Democracy: where citizens are given direct input in the decision-making process

    • Representative, Parliamentary and Majoritarian democracies are usually interwoven in political systems as what you’ll find in countries (like the UK) are both a representative democracy (as we elect local MPs to represent us in the House of Commons) and a parliamentary democracy (as our Prime Minister and Secretaries of States are elected members of the legislature)

  • Direct Democracy

    • Direct democracy (unlike earlier examples) is quite different and is usually separate 

    • A direct democracy is where citizens are given direct input in the decision-making process

    • It comes from Athens in Ancient Greece 

      • Free men were able to have a direct input in the decision-making process

      • They’d gather on Phyx Hill and listen to speeches (and anyone could speak)

      • Whichever side of the debate received the most votes would win

      • Despite us usually referring to Athens as a very democratic place in history, it wasn’t as much as we think as slaves and women weren’t permitted to have a say but it’s where the idea of a direct democracy originates from

      • Demagogues were also a problem as people could be won over by a good speaker or popular leader

      • Sometimes decisions could be overly emotional 

    • It’s usually viewed as the purest form of democracy 

    • Direct democracy is quite rare in the modern world due to its impracticality 

    • However, there are a few examples of direct democracy today

      • Town Hall meetings in New England, USA (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont) have a system of direct democracy where all citizens have a say in decisions made by the states’ townhalls

      • In Switzerland, they have around 10 referendum-style votes in a year so the Swiss people have a direct say over many issues

      • Referenda are also considered a kind of direct democracy as the people have a say in a particular decision

  • Representative Democracy

    • A representative democracy is where citizens elect representatives to formulate legislation and make other decisions on their behalf 

    • A representative democracy is usually more practical 

      • In modern states like the United Kingdom with a population of 67 million, it’d be extremely difficult to coordinate a direct democracy 

      • It’d also be hard on the citizens who have jobs as now they’d also have to participate in every decision and policy their country is debating and creating 

      • For this reason, in this country. We elect representatives to make decisions on our behalf 

    • ‘Your representative owes you not his industry only but his judgement; and he betrays you instead of serving you if he sacrifices it to your opinion’ - Edmund Burke

      • This Burkean view states that citizens elect individuals to represent them in the legislature; a representative democracy 

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A12 | The Similarities and Differences bewteen Direct Democracy and Representative Democracy

The similarities and differences between direct democracy and representative democracy.

  • Similarities

    • Both are based on the concept of majority rule 

      • Although representative democracies safeguard the minority views

  • Differences

    • In a direct democracy, individuals express opinions themselves while in a representative democracy, citizens elect a representative to make decisions on their behalf 

    • In a direct democracy, citizens are more active in decision-making while in a representative democracy, citizens pass their authority to their representatives and therefore less involved in decision-making

    • In a direct democracy, it’s not elective while in a representative democracy, all adult citizens have a right to vote for representatives in free and fair elections  

A13 | The Advantages and Disadvantages of Direct Democracy and Representative Democracy

Advantages and disadvantages of direct democracy and representative democracy.

  • Direct Democracy’s Advantages and Disadvantages

    • Advantages of direct democracy

      • Every citizen has equal power in matters of government so every citizen is involved in decision making and all people’s voices are heard

      • It can avoid delay and deadlock within a political system

      • The fact that the people are making a decision gives it greater legitimacy 

    • Disadvantages of direct democracy

      • Only works when a small number of people are involved as you should really have the ability to gather all citizens in one place (like Phyx Hill in Ancient Athens) which is essentially impossible in the UK

      • It can be impractical and time-consuming if there’s a larger number of people in the direct democracy 

      • It leads to ‘tyranny of the majority’ whereby the winning majority simply ignores the interests of the minority and imposes something detrimental on them as the minority view is overlooked 

      • People are too easily swayed by short-term, emotional appeals by charismatic individuals 

      • Some issues may be too complex for the ordinary citizen to understand 

  • Representative Demoracy’s Advantages and Disadvantages

    • Advantages of representative democracy

      • Representatives should be experts (and can develop expertise) in politics and know what’s best for their constituency and the country as the general public doesn't have time or knowledge to deal with political matters 

      • It’s more practical in a large modern country to use representatives to translate public opinion into political action

      • Gives the minority view a greater say in policies 

      • Representatives can be held to account for their actions at election time

      • Representatives have time to deal with a variety of complex matters, leaving the pub club  free to get on with their own lives

    • Disadvantages of representative democracy

      • Representatives might not agree with those who they represent  and may not act in the best interests of their constituents

      • It’s difficult to hold representatives to account in between elections

      • It allows voters to delegate responsibility to representatives which can lead to the public disengaging from social issues and other responsibilities

      • Some representative bodies can be unrepresentative and may ignore the concerns and needs of minorities 

A14 | The Levels and Forms of Representation in the UK’s Representative Democracy

The levels of representation and forms of representation in a representative democracy in the UK.

  • The Levels of Representation in the UK

    • All citizens in the UK are represented on many levels and it’s clear that representation has become increasingly decentralised with the advent of devolution and increasing powers of city administrations

    • Parish or Town Councils

      • The lowest level of government that deals with local issues such as parks and gardens, parking restrictions, public amenities and small planning issues

    • Local Councils

      • There could be a county council, a district council or a metropolitan council depending on the area. Their job is to deal with local services such as education, public transport, roads, social services and public health (for example: it’s the Kent County Council’s role to deal with our education at Mayfield Grammar School)

    • Combined Authorities

      • This is when two or more councils join together to share resources and increase powers devolved to them from the central government. These powers may be presided by an elected mayor (like the Mayor of Manchester) or not have a mayor like the West Yorkshire Combined Authority 

    • Metropolitan Authorities

      • This is essentially a big city government (like London) that deals with strategic city issues such as policing, public transport, arts funding, environment, large planning issues and emergency services. They usually have an elected mayor and strategic authority 

    • Devolved Government 

      • The Governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have varying powers and all deal with health, social services, education, policing and transport in their nations. All three have elected representative bodies (the Northern Ireland Assembly called ‘Tionól Thuaisceart Éireann’; the Welsh Parliament called ‘Senedd Cymru’ & the Scottish Parliament called ‘Pàrlamaid na h-Alba’)

    • National Government

      • This is the jurisdiction of the UK Parliament at Westminster and the UK Government

  • Forms of Representation in the UK

    • Constituencies

      • An acknowledged strength of a representative democracy in the UK is that every elected representative has a constituency in which they’re accountable and whose interests they should pursue 

      • Constituencies come in all shapes and sizes but have a nearly equal  amount of people being 69,000-77,000 voters

      • This principle is that it isn’t the size of the constituency but rather that the individuals in the constituency should have their grievances considered and that the interests of the whole constituency should be given a hearing in representative assembly  

      • The elected representative in a representative democracy can be regularly made accountable to their constituency 

      • Levels of a constituency in the UK

        • Ward or Parish: parish and local councillors 

        • Parliamentary constituency: MPs

        • City region: assembly members

        • Metropolitan authority: reelected mayors

        • Devolved assembly constituency: members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs), members of the Senedd in Wales & members of the Legislative Assembly (MSLs) in Northern Ireland

    • Parties

      • The UK is unusual in the sense that our political parties play a much more central role in representation than most other democracies

      • Political parties have evolved out of ideological principles (usually expressed in their manifestos) and therefore set out their core beliefs at the heart of the party. 

        • This means members of UK parties have a shared ideology and set of beliefs, whereas, in some other countries, such as the USA, parties arose in reaction to particular events or conflicts

        • This results in multiple parties being elected into the house which makes Britain more representative of the people to an extent 

      • Usually, in the UK, one party governs in the UK which is rare compared to democracies across Europe. 

        • There have been some exceptions like between 2010-2015 when a Conservative Party and Liberal Democrat Coalition rules (the Cameron-Clegg Coalition) and when the Conservatives formed a minority government with the support from the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP)

        • The norm is for a single-party government and since the 80-seat majority secured by the Conservatives in December 2019, the UK has returned to its ‘normal’ position of single-party government 

        • This shows ‘true democracy’ as the winning party (that was democratically voted in as the most popular party) is the one that governs

    • Government Representation

      • The people of Britain as a whole are represented by the elected government 

      • It’s a mark of true democracy that the winning party or parties should govern on behalf of the whole community and not just those sections of society that tend to support it or them

      • There’ll be a tendency to support some groups (which support the governing party/parties) more than others, but this doesn’t alter the fact that the elected government represents the whole nation

    • Pressure Groups

      • Pressure groups in the UK (and other democracies) are representative bodies in two ways:

        • Some groups will have formal membership and will represent their ‘section’ of society and promote policies that’ll benefit them. This applies to sectional pressure groups such as the ‘British Medical Association’ (BMA) and the ‘National Farmers’ Union’ (NFU)

        • Other groups are engaged in causal representation where they represent a set of beliefs, principles or demands that they believe will benefit the whole community such as ‘Friends of the Earth’ (environmental causes) and ‘Liberty’(human rights campaigning)

    • All pressure groups represent us in various ways. No matter our beliefs, what we do or our occupations, there’s a pressure group working in our interests

    • It’s all part of a pluralist democracy (where governments make decisions as a consequence of the interaction between groups and organisations who have different ideas and contrasting arguments) and a healthy civil society (a society considered as a community of citizens linked by common interests and collective activity)

A15 | The Consideration of the Case for Reform

Consideration of the case for reform.

  • Participation Crisis

    • The 2019 UK General Election

      • The voter turnout was only 67.3% of registered voters 

      • While between 1945-1997 the average was 76%

    • Local elections

      • Voter turnout is even lower 

    • Party membership

      • It’s only 1.6% of the electorate which is down from the 3.8% in 1983 emphasising the participation crisis 

    • This is bad as election results are less representative of the electorate which decreases the legitimacy of the result is brought down

  • Case for Reform

    • We could change the day for elections from Thursday to the weekend

      • Most European countries have their election days on a weekend

      • Many people are busy on a Thursday as it’s a working day so fewer people are bothered or have no time to vote

      • Most citizens are off on the weekend and therefore are more likely to vote, increasing voter turnout and making our democracy more representative

    • Vote anywhere in the constituency rather than at a particular polling station

      • Being assigned a polling station limits voters when they could be elsewhere in the constituency but allowing them to vote anywhere in the constituency will increase the likelihood of them voting

    • Allowing voting to take place over several days

      • Gives people more time and a chance to vote increasing voter turnout 

    • Postal voting and e-voting

      • It is controversial but is believed to increase voter turnout as it’s easier and takes less effort than getting out and going to a polling station 

    • Making voting mandatory

      • Social duty 

        • For: voting is a social duty as well as a right; people should be engaged in the processes that affect their lives

        • Against: in a preferential voting system, people may rank candidates in order rather than understanding what to do if we made voting mandatory 

      • Representation

        • For: it’d produce a parliament that’s more representative of the population as a whole

        • Against: it’s undemocratic to force people to take part in something that should be a matter of choice

      • Campaigning

        • For: politicians would have to run better quality campaigns and governments would have to frame their policies with the whole electorate in mind

        • Against: it wouldn’t stop politicians from focusing their campaigns on marginal seats, and neglecting safe seats where the outcome is predictable

    • People don’t have to vote

      • For: voters aren’t obliged to vote for one of the candidates and it’d still be legal to spoil one’s ballot paper or a ‘none of the above’ box could be printed 

    • Against: mandatory voting wouldn’t address the deeper reason why people decide not to vote

A2. A Wider Franchise and Debates Over Suffrage

This subtopic sees the lessons of the Key Milestones in Widening the Franchise; the Work of the Suffragists and Suffragettes in Extending the Franchise; the Work of a Current Movement to Extend the Franchise.

A21 | The Key Milestones in Widening the Franchise

Key milestones in the widening of the franchise in relation to class, gender, ethnicity and age, including the 1832 Great Reform Act and the 1918, 1928 and 1969 Representation of the People Acts.

  • The Franchise

    • The franchise is the right to vote in public elections 

  • Participation in Today’s Britain 

    • We now take universal suffrage for granted 

    • Many eligible citizens don’t believe it to be a big deal and millions of UK adults (for various reasons) choose not to use their vote

    • Voting in the UK allows all citizens 18 and older to actively participate in politics and in turn have an impact on the decisions that are made

    • Currently, you can vote in UK General Elections if you’re:

      • A British citizen

      • A Commonwealth citizen

      • A resident in the UK

      • A UK citizen living abroad who has registered to vote in the last 15 years 

    •  You can’t vote in UK General Elections if you’re:

      • Under the age of 18

      • In prison

      • A member of the House of Lords

      • Have been found guilty of an election-related crime 

      • Foreign residents (for example: before leaving in 2020, EU citizens who lived in the UK also couldn’t vote in British politics)

    • Possible reasons why people choose not to vote despite having the franchise:

      • People don’t feel as if they side with any political party 

      • People believe their vote won’t affect much

      • People are too busy and choose not to vote because of it

  • The Franchise in the UK in the Early 1800s

    • The franchise has grown massively over time with groups campaigning and fighting to gain the right to vote

    • In Early 19th-Century Britain, only a small number of wealthy men (who owned large amounts of land) could vote (some could even vote multiple times as they could vote in their place of residence, where they owned businesses and where they attended university adding to the unfairness of the franchise at this time)

    • Constituencies varied enormously in size with some only having a few voters; there were county seats and borough seats & those boroughs that were able to elect an MP but had very few voters were known as ‘rotten boroughs’

    • Voting was also done publicly

      • So everybody knew how you voted

      • This encouraged bribery or pressure 

      • An example would be a wealthy business owner being pressured into voting for another wealthy business owner’s son to keep business relations high as the other businessman would’ve known how he’d voted. This makes the system very unfair

    • Some elections were uncontested meaning only one candidate (often nominated/chosen by a member of the aristocracy) stood and of course, won

  • The Reform Act 1832

    • The ‘Representation of the People Act 1832’ is also known as the ‘Reform Act 1832’, ‘Great Reform Act’ and ‘First Reform Act’

    • This expanded the vote to many middle-class property-owning men 

    • The electorate had now increased from 400,000 to 650,000 making it so 1 in 5 adult males was eligible to vote 

  • The Chartists

    • Chartism was a working-class movement for political reform in the UK

    • They emerged in 1836 and were most prevalent in 1838-1848

    • Chartists campaigned for:

      • The Franchise to be increased to all men aged 21 and over 

      • The payment of MPs (at this time, the only people in Parliament had independent wealth so they could survive without a salary while working men couldn’t be MPs due to them not having money already - MPs won’t start being paid until around 1911)

      • A secret ballot (comes in after the Chartists with the ‘Ballot Act 1872’)

      • No property qualification for MPs

      • Equal-sized constituencies (comes in after the Chartists with the ‘Redistribution of Seats Act 1885’)

      • Annual parliamentary elections 

  • The Reform Act 1867

    • The ‘Representation of the People Act 1867’ is also known as the ‘Reform Act 1867’ and the ‘Second Reform Act’

    • It extended the vote to skilled workers (men who paid their own rates and had been a resident in a property for a year)

    • It granted the vote to all householders in the boroughs as well as lodgers who paid rent of £10 a year or more

    • It reduced the property threshold in the counties and gave the vote to agricultural landowners and tenants with very small amounts of land

    • It removed rotten boroughs

    • It gave MPs to industrial towns and cities that hadn’t had MPs

    • The electorate had now been increased to around 2 million men

  • The Ballot Act 1872

    • Voting now was done in secret

    • It put limits on how much one could spend on their election campaign

  • The Reform Act 1884

    • The ‘Representation of the People Act 1884’ is also known as the ‘Reform Act 1884’ and the ‘Third Reform Act’

    • It gave the vote to a number of working-class men for the first time

      • We don’t get many working-class MPs at this point however

      • We do see movements towards the Labour Party following this Act as some working-class men have the vote 

    • It remained biassed towards the head of the household 

      • This usually led to older men getting the vote rather than younger 

    • There was still a complex registration system which prevented many of the working class from working 

  • The Redistribution of Seats Act 1885

    • The Conservative Government redrew the boundaries of constituencies 

    • Constituencies were now to be the same size and based on ‘pursuits of the people’

      • The Conservatives drew the constituencies so that the boundaries saw working-class people in one constituency while the middle-class were in their own constituency as they had different interests, they’d want a different representative

      • This led to the creation of middle-class constituencies in what’s known as ‘Villa Toryism’ which meant the Conservatives had drawn the boundaries so they’d get more seats as they had drawn constituencies making sure those in it were more likely to vote for their party

  • The Reform Act 1918

    • The ‘Representation of the People Act 1918’ is also known as the ‘Reform Act 1918’ and the ‘Fourth Reform Act’

    • This abolished property qualifications for men and universal male suffrage for those 21 and older

    • It introduced limited female suffrage as now women over the age of 30 could vote who owned or rented property of a yearly value of £5+, or were married to a man who qualified for the local government franchise

    • There was a belief women mature later than men and thus why there was such a large gap in the voting age in this Act

  • The Equal Franchise Act 1928

    • The ‘Representation of the People Act 1928’ is also known as the ‘Equal Franchise Act 1928’ and the ‘Fifth Reform Act’

      • This reduced the voting age for all women to 21 and over just like the men

  • Suffrage in 1969

    • In 1969, the voting age for men and women was reduced to 18

    • This was a reaction to social change with 18-year-olds being seen as being more economically and politically aware than in previous generations 

      • At the age of 18, people could:

        • Marry without their parents’ consent

        • Own or rent property 

        • Make a will

        • Have children 

      • This made it make sense for them to have the vote 

    • There wasn’t a mass campaign with the change coming more from a realisation of the impact of improved education, health & mass media resulting in 18-year-olds of the 1960s being a lot different than those before in the UK 

A22 | The Work of the Suffragists and Suffragettes in Extending the Franchise

The work of the suffragists/suffragettes to extend the franchise.

  • Exclusion of Women in Politics

    • Women had always been excluded from the franchise 

    • It was largely unchallenged as until the late 19th-Century as it was assumed married women were represented by the vote cast by their husband

  • Suffragists

    • Suffragist groups like the ‘National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies’ (NUWSS) had been campaigning peacefully for a number of years

    • The NUWSS was established in 1897 under Millicent Fawcett’s leadership 

    • Suffragists were mainly middle-class women who believed in non-violent methods of persuasion 

  • Suffragettes

    • In 1903, we’d see the formation of the ‘Women’s Social and Political Union’ (WSPU) by the suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst (a former suffragist) and her daughters who started taking direct action for women to get the vote

    • The WSPU attracted both working and middle-class support & used more militant tactics compared to the NUWSS

    • The suffragettes took violent 

    • They were subject to police brutality and were forced to feed when they went on hunger strikes

    • Emily Davidson most famously grabbed the reins of the King’s horse and was killed in protest on June 8th, 1913

    • Lots of the protesting the suffragettes did had lots of publicity 

    • They did this as their aim was to attract publicity to put pressure on the government 

      • They committed attacks on well-known institutions 

      • They disrupted political meetings and other prominent male-dominated public activities 

  • The First World War

    • Women played a massive role in WWI

    • It showed women could work just like men when they were fighting

      • It was a major reason for getting the vote for women

  • Women’s Suffrage

    • Eventually, the UK would pass the ‘Reform Act 1918’ and the ‘Equal Franchise Act 1928’ giving women suffrage

A23 | The Work of a Current Movement to Extend the Franchise

The work of a current movement to extend the franchise.

  • Votes at 16

    • The ‘Votes at 16 Coalition’ 

      • It was formed in 2003

      • It won early success by securing a study of the issue by the Electoral Commission 

      • Labour MP, Julie Morgan, sponsored  a private member’s bill in 2008 but was unsuccessful as it ran out of parliamentary time 

    • Scotland

      • An important boost came when 16 to 17-year-olds were allowed to vote in the 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum

      • In 2015, the Scottish Parliament voted to allow 16 and 17-year-olds to vote in Scottish elections

    • Support

      • The Electoral Reform Society support Votes at 16

      • Every major political party running in the 2015 UK General Election were in support of Votes at 16 except the Conservative Party

  • Debate on Extending the Franchise to 16 and 17-Year-Olds

    • There’s a debate on whether the Franchise should be extended to 16 and 17-year-olds

    • Maturity 

      • For: 16-year-olds can have a baby, pay tax, join the armed forces, give consent to medical treatment and join a trade union. If they’re mature enough to do those things, surely they can vote

      • Against: we still consider 16 and 17-year-olds as children as in these times, they’re still in education and are usually still reliant on their parents/guardians

    • Empowerment and voter turnout

      • For: it’ll empower them as they play a more active role in helping decide on issues that affect their futures

      • Against: voter turnout is very low for 18 to 24-year-olds and there’s very little evidence that those aged 16 and 17 will want to vote

    • Political engagement

      • For: in Scotland, those aged 16-17 have the vote and this has increased political engagement

      • Against: those 16-17 have very little political knowledge and are likely to not use or misuse this right to vote; we should educate this age group a lot better in politics before they’re given the vote

    • Social media

      • For: the growth of social media and the internet has increased political awareness for this age group

      • Against: the young are more likely to be taken by fake news and extreme politics

  • Debate on Extending the Franchise to Prisoners

    • There’s a debate on whether prisoners should have the right to vote

    • For

      • The fundamental right to vote shouldn’t be removed as the ECHR ruled it’s a violation of the HRA

      • The right to vote isn’t a deterrent to crime

      • Removing the vote in turn removes civic responsibility which damages rehabilitation and alienates them from society

    • Against

      • Prisoners forfeit their right to say in how society’s run when they commit crimes against society

      • Criminals shouldn’t have a say in the criminal justice system 

      • Prison votes would have a significant impact on some constituencies 

A3. Pressure Groups and Other Influences


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Luca's Egnaro Aster

A. Democracy and Participation

Autumn 2023  |  A-Level Politics  |  1st Paper

Democracy is a system of government in which state power is vested in the people or the general population of a state. Here in the UK, we have a democracy with an extensive franchise, thanks to the efforts of suffrage movements in the past. Yet, despite our right to vote in Britain and the strength of the people's power, citizens' participation in politics has decreased, which begs the question why.

"We are here, not because we are law-breakers; we are here in our efforts to become law-makers"
— Emmeline Pankhurst, 1908

A1. Current Systems of Representative Democracy and Direct Democracy
A2. A Wider Franchise and Debates Over Suffrage
A3. Pressure Groups and Other Influences.
A4. Rights in Context

H0 | The Key Terminology Glossary


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Luca's Orange Aster

Mayfield Grammar School, Gravesend

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