I don't believe it's true that Gladstone never believed in universal suffrage. In 1864 he stated:
“every man who is not presumably incapacitated by some consideration of personal unfitness or of political danger is morally entitled to come within the pale of the constitution”.
Although it is thought that he became scared of his own thinking, this quote suggests at least a cautious stance toward male or household suffrage. Furthermore, by the time he had introduced the Ballot act there was already close to universal male suffrage - why would he pass an act specifically designed to protect working class voters and aid the democratic process if he wasn't, at least ostensibly, a believer in some form of democracy? --Gladstone 20:57 BST, 15th May 2008
- Gladstone never believed in democracy, stating: ‘I am a firm believer in the aristocratic principle – the rule of the best.’ He campaigned against universal male suffrage, believing that only those who could be trusted with the vote should be allowed to.
I think a bill that favors or protects voting would have to be classed as inconsistent with "never believing in democracy". Also, "rule of the best" is not always anti-democratic. Don't we all want to elect the "best" rulers, judges, and legislators? --Ed Poor Talk 16:16, 15 May 2008 (EDT)
- But in a C19 context, especially perhaps a British one, the word 'best' is laden with class connotations. To be 'best' for Gladstone was to have, among other things, a 'proper' (ie public (US:private) school, classics-based) education - something outside the grasp of the huge majority of the disenfranchised. Bugler 16:26, 15 May 2008 (EDT)
In 19th century British politics even Gladstone's stance on democracy was relatively positive. Very few politicians, if any, wanted full male suffrage. Even the 1867 Reform Act, which enfranchised urban working class males, was only introduced by Disraeli as a way of spiting Gladstone and winning votes. The actual idea of full male suffrage was still very radical, and for his time Gladstone's views were if anything fairly democratic. --Gladstone 21:40 BST, 15th May 2008
- You guys are making a mountain out of a molehill. If you want to debate, try Conservapedia:What is the true meaning of democracy? or Conservapedia:Who should get the vote? or start your own. --Ed Poor Talk 16:52, 15 May 2008 (EDT)
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