In 1897, the publishing house Blackie and Son launched a series of volumes on ‘The Victorian Era’.1 Promising to assess ‘the chief movements of our age’, its inaugural volume was dedicated to ‘The Rise of Democracy’.2 The theme was well chosen. As Erskine May had written in 1877, ‘no political question of the present time excites more profound interest than the progress of Democracy’, or the forms it might take in decades to come.3 Democracy was the spectre haunting Europe, a ‘great and unwieldy force which is advancing upon us in so many shapes, and of which we are all asking whence it came, whither it is taking us, and what we are to do with it’.4


Quarterly Review Conservative Party Universal Suffrage Home Rule Reform Debate 
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© Robert Saunders 2013

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