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For most of its history, parliament and democracy were very different things. It was a small minority who could take direct part in electing the men who were supposed to represent the country. Most of parliament’s members shied away from the idea of popular government, thinking it meant mob rule and threatened their wealth and property. The process of transition to democracy was slow and complicated. It took almost a century of reform, from 1832 to 1928, before all adults were able to vote on equal terms. The beginnings of the process coincided with the destruction of the medieval palace of Westminster by fire, and the creation of a dramatic new palace for representative government on the banks of the Thames.
Contributors— Stephen Ball Henry Miller James Owen Kathryn Rix Philip Salmon Caroline Shenton Mari Takayanagi