Liberalism and Suffrage, 1866–85
In 1866 liberalism appeared to be the motivating force in the political life of England and Germany. In England, Gladstone was attempting to reform the suffrage. In Germany, Prussian liberals were still bitterly fighting the Constitutional Conflict with Bismarck, but the situation was about to be transformed by the Austro-Prussian War of 1866 and the formation of the North German Confederation. National unification, one of the most heart-felt goals of German liberalism, was in sight. Even in France, liberals led by Thiers participated in the new-found parliamentary life of the Second Empire and played an important role in French politics.
KeywordsPolitical Participation Lower Class Liberal Party Plural Vote Universal Suffrage
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