Reforms,changes made in order to improve or alter something within society, have been prevalentthroughout civilised society since the onset of creation.
My main focus for investigationis based on two types of reforms; both political and social. Social reforms arebased on changes that relate to societal structure and organisation ofcivilization, and Political reforms are changes made in relation to currentaffairs and government. These two types of reform will be the basis of mycombative investigation in this essay as I assess whether these two types ofreform over this tumultuous one-hundred year period (1850-1864) were due toBritish involvement and impact from War, or rather were due to other externalfactors that galvanized change. The four Wars that have been seen to insight themost apical vigour for political and societal reform involvement between theyears 1850-1964 were; The Boer Wars, the Crimean War, World War one and WorldWar two. The Boer wars were two conflicts that were fought betweenrepresentatives of the British empire and the ‘Boers’ (relatives of early Dutchsettlers in South Africa) – the first hostility starting in December 1880 and endingin March 1881, and the second staring in October 1899 and ending in May 1902. Thesecond prime focus of conflict in my essay is the involvement in Crimean War, startingin 1853 and ending in 1856; it was mainly catalysed by the Russian involvement withinthe land of the Ottoman Empire, who were supposedly protecting the ‘liberties’of Christian minorities causing the involvement and eventual termination ofrelationship between Britain, France and Sardinia. Concluding the Wars I willbe inspecting for are the First and Second World War; the first being aninternational conflict that lasted from 1914 to 1918, and the second, anotherglobal bloodshed, involved the world’s most influential powers and occurredfrom the years 1939 to 1945. All of these four animosities caused much dissensionin regards to new and revised Government policies which I will continue togauge in order to conclude whether War was the most significant factor insocial and political reform in Britain.
In contrast to this there are severalreasons as to why political and social reform did not come from the systematic reelingof warfare. The plight of the women’s suffrage movements – advocating thefranchise and right to vote in public elections for women, the emergence andlegality of strikes and trade unions as well as the laws put in place tosupplement the 1870 education act not only show evidence of reformation frompublic opinion, but also show change occurring beyond the trenches ofpreliminary bloodshed. These aspects will be vital in my argument and counterargument, as I begin to assess the overriding crux for social and politicalreform in this dissertation. The politicalreform during the war was the most significant factor in social and politicalreform in Britain as opposed to influence of conflict – as shown throughknowledge and understanding of electoral and political reform in this period.At the start of the ‘Great War’ (WWI),the liberal prime minister attempted torun the war effort using existing structures of Government The only addition tothe existing Government was Lord Kitchener as minister of War.
He was given thejob based on reputation and experience (mainly as commander in the Boer War andchallenges in Sudan). He, however, was not prepared for the logistical changesand demands of the adoption of trench warfare and struggled with the politicaldemands of his job. The liberals were therefore not the natural party of Governmentin wartime and would stay in sole power for less than one year.1 During this time period, and as aresult of elections following the downfalls of the liberal party, electoral reformdominated the political scene; the representation of people’s act (1918)introduced votes for all men over 21 and women over 30. Elections were to beheld on a singular day.
As well as the ‘first past the post’ system of votingbeing maintained, with ‘proportional representation’ not introduced.