Visit Website Did you know? During Reconstruction, the Republican Party in the South represented a coalition of blacks who made up the overwhelming majority of Republican voters in the region along with "carpetbaggers" and "scalawags," as white Republicans from the North and South, respectively, were known. Emancipation changed the stakes of the Civil War, ensuring that a Union victory would mean large-scale social revolution in the South. It was still very unclear, however, what form this revolution would take.
InFox declared for a "radical reform" of the electoral system.
This led to a general use of the term to identify all supporting the movement for parliamentary reform. Initially confined to the upper and middle classes,[ citation needed ] in the early 19th century "popular radicals" brought artisans and the "labouring classes" into widespread agitation[ citation needed ] in the face of harsh government repression.
More respectable[ citation needed ] " philosophical radicals " followed the utilitarian philosophy of Jeremy Bentham and strongly supported parliamentary reform, but were generally hostile to the arguments and tactics of the "popular radicals".
By the middle of the century, parliamentary Radicals joined with others in the Parliament of the United Kingdom to form the Liberal Partyeventually achieving reform of the electoral system. Origins[ edit ] The Radical movement had its beginnings at a time of tension between the American colonies and Great Britainwith the first Radicals, angry at the state of the House of Commonsdrawing on the Leveller tradition and similarly demanding improved parliamentary representation.
These earlier concepts of democratic and even egalitarian reform had emerged in the turmoil of the English Civil War and the brief establishment of the republican Commonwealth of England amongst the vague political grouping known as the Levellers, but with the English Restoration of the monarchy such ideas had been discredited.
Although the Glorious Revolution of had increased parliamentary power with a constitutional monarchy and the union of the parliaments brought England and Scotland together, towards the end of the 18th century the monarch still had considerable influence over the Parliament of Great Britain which itself was dominated by the English aristocracy and by patronage.
Candidates for the House of Commons stood as Whigs or Tories Radical republicans, but once elected formed shifting coalitions of interests rather than splitting along party lines. At general electionsthe vote was restricted to property owners in constituencies which were out of date and did not reflect the growing importance of manufacturing towns or shifts of population, so that in many rotten borough seats could be bought or were controlled by rich landowners while major cities remained unrepresented.
Discontent with these inequities inspired those individuals who later became known as the " Radical Whigs ". William Beckford fostered early interest in reform in the London area.
The " Middlesex radicals" were led by the politician John Wilkesan opponent of war with the colonies who started his weekly publication The North Briton in and within two years had been charged with seditious libel and expelled from the House of Commons.
The Society for the Defence of the Bill of Rights which he started in to support his re-election, developed the belief that every man had the right to vote and "natural reason" enabling him to properly judge political issues. Liberty consisted in frequent elections and for the first time middle-class radicals obtained the backing of the London "mob".
Middlesex and Westminster were among the few parliamentary constituencies with a large and socially diverse electorate including many artisans as well as the middle class and aristocracy and along with the county association of Yorkshire led by the Reverend Christopher Wyvill were at the forefront of reform activity.
The writings of what became known as the " Radical Whigs " had an influence on the American Revolution. Major John Cartwright also supported the colonists, even as the American Revolutionary War began and in earned the title of the "Father of Reform" when he published his pamphlet Take Your Choice!
Ina draft programme of reform was drawn up by Charles James Fox and Thomas Brand Hollis and put forward by a sub-committee of the electors of Westminster. The American Revolutionary War ended in humiliating defeat of a policy which King George III had fervently advocated and in March the King was forced to appoint an administration led by his opponents which sought to curb Royal patronage.
Pitt had previously called for Parliament to begin to reform itself, but he did not press for long for reforms the King did not like.
Proposals Pitt made in April to redistribute seats from the " rotten boroughs " to London and the counties were defeated in the House of Commons by votes to They encouraged mass support for democratic reform along with rejection of the monarchyaristocracy and all forms of privilege.
Different strands of the movement developed, with middle class "reformers" aiming to widen the franchise to represent commercial and industrial interests and towns without parliamentary representation, while "Popular radicals" drawn from the middle class and from artisans agitated to assert wider rights including relieving distress.
The theoretical basis for electoral reform was provided by "Philosophical radicals" who followed the utilitarian philosophy of Jeremy Bentham and strongly supported parliamentary reform, but were generally hostile to the arguments and tactics of the "popular radicals". Radical organisations sprang up, such as the London Corresponding Society of artisans formed in January under the leadership of the shoemaker Thomas Hardy to call for the vote.
One such was the Scottish Friends of the People society which in October held a British convention in Edinburgh with delegates from some of the English corresponding societies. They issued a manifesto demanding universal male suffrage with annual elections and expressing their support for the principles of the French Revolution.
The numbers involved in these movements were small and most wanted reform rather than revolution, but for the first time working men were organising for political change. The government reacted harshly, imprisoning leading Scottish radicals, temporarily suspending habeas corpus in England and passing the Seditious Meetings Act which meant that a license was needed for any meeting in a public place consisting of fifty or more people.
Throughout the Napoleonic Warsthe government took extensive stern measures against feared domestic unrest. The corresponding societies ended, but some radicals continued in secret, with Irish sympathisers in particular forming secret societies to overturn the government and encourage mutinies.
InMajor John Cartwright formed the first Hampden Clubnamed after the English Civil War Parliamentary leader John Hampdenaiming to bring together middle class moderates and lower class radicals.
After the Napoleonic Wars, the Corn laws in force between and and bad harvests fostered discontent. The publications of William Cobbett were influential and at political meetings speakers like Henry Hunt complained that only three men in a hundred had the vote. Writers like the radicals William Hone and Thomas Jonathan Wooler spread dissent with publications such as The Black Dwarf in defiance of a series of government acts to curb circulation of political literature.
Radical riots in and were followed by the Peterloo massacre of publicised by Richard Carlilewho then continued to fight for press freedom from prison. The Six Acts of limited the right to demonstrate or hold public meetings.
Magistrates powers were increased to crush demonstrations by manufacturers and action by radical Luddites. To counter the established Church of England doctrine that the aristocratic social order was divinely ordained, radicals supported Lamarckian Evolutionisma theme proclaimed by street corner agitators as well as some established scientists such as Robert Edmund Grant.
Political reform[ edit ] Economic conditions improved after and the United Kingdom government made economic and criminal law improvements, abandoning policies of repression.The role of Radical Republicans in the history of the United States of America.
The Radical Republicans believed blacks were entitled to the same political rights and opportunities as whites.
Radical Republican: Radical Republican, during and after the American Civil War, a member of the Republican Party committed to emancipation of the slaves and later to the equal treatment and enfranchisement of the freed blacks. Learn more about the beliefs . The agenda of the Radical Republicans during the Civil War included opposition to Abraham Lincoln's plans for the post-war South.
Thinking Lincoln's ideas were far too lenient, the Radical Republicans backed the Wade-Davis Bill, which advocated more stringent . Radical Reconstruction In Baltimore on May 19, , 20, participants celebrate the ratification of the 15th Amendment.
The Radical Republicans believed blacks were entitled to the same political rights and opportunities as whites. Radical Republicans favored granting civil rights to African Americans for various reasons.
Some radicals truly believed that African Americans were equals to the whites. Other Radical Republicans hoped to create a political base for the Republican Party in the South.