Reform Bill of 1832
British parliamentary act that expanded the electorate. It transferred voting privileges from the small rural boroughs controlled by the nobility and gentry to the heavily populated but underrepresented industrial towns. Conceived by Prime Minister Earl Grey and introduced by Earl Russell, it passed in the House of Commons three times but was opposed by the House of Lords until Grey's threat to create 50 new liberal peers (enough to carry the bill) finally brought their agreement. The act redistributed seats in the Commons and lowered the electoral qualifications to allow voting by small property owners (much of the middle class).
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