History of democracy of Britannic

Historical background of democracy. The history of parliament. Years of dawn of Britannic democracy. Britannic democracy and Wales democracy. The political representation of Wales before the coming of Reform. The Early Governors of New South Wales.

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Part 1

1.1 Historical background of democracy

1.2 War and independence

1.3 The history of parliament

1.4 The house of Lords

1.5 Years of dawn of Britannic democracy ( 18th-20th century )

1.5.1 18th century. King, Parliament and Church

1.5.2 Political Groups of 19th century

1.5.3 Social and political change in 1900-1939

Part 2

2.1 Britannic democracy and Wales democracy

2.1.1 The political representation of Wales before the coming of Reform

2.1.2 The Early Governors of New South Wales

2.1.3 Postwar New South Wales


List of literature used


Great Britain is a constitutional monarchy. This means it has a monarch as its Head of the State. The monarch reigns with the support of Parliament. The UK Parliament is one of the oldest representative assemblies in the world, having its origin in the mid-13th century. By the 1250s King Henry III (1216-1272) was running into difficulties with his nobility. They were angry at the cost of his schemes, such as rebuilding of Westminster Abbey and a proposed campaign to make one of his youngest sons King of Sicily. The provisions of Oxford (1258), imposed on Henry by his barons, established a permanent baronial council which took control of certain key appointments. The leader of the baronial movement was Simon de Montfort, the Earl of Leister. In 1259 the Provisions of Westminster reformed the common law. Henry eventually renounced both sets of provisions and challenged the barons. Civil war broke out in 1264, initially going well for Simon de Montfort. During the conflict he sought to boost his baronial support by summoning knights of the shires and burgesses to attend his parliament. This was the first time that commoners had been represented. De Montfort was killed at the Battle of Evesham in 1265, but his innovation of summoning the commons to attend parliaments was repeated in later years and soon became standard. Thus it is from him that the modern idea of a representative parliament derives. From the 14th century parliamentary government in the United Kingdom has been based on a two-chamber system. The House of Lords (the upper house) and the House of Commons (the lower house) sit separately and are constituted on entirely different principles. In the 14th century, under King Edward III (1327-1377) it was accepted that there should be no taxation without parliamentary consent, still a fundamental principle of today. Two distinct Houses of Parliament were emerging for the first time, with the “Commons” sitting apart from the “Upper House” form 1342. The “Good Parliament” of 1376 saw the election of the first Speaker, Thomas Hungerford, to represent the Commons. It also saw the use of “impeachment”, whereby the House of Commons as a body could accuse officials who had abused their authority and put them on trial before the Lords. In the 15th century the Commons gained equal law-making powers with the Lords, under King Henry V. The 16th century saw the legal union of Wales - which had long been subject to the English crown - with England under King Henry VIII (1509-1547). Henry's reign also saw the Church of England break away from the Roman Catholic Church. The “Gunpowder Plot” of 1605 may have been hatched when it became clear that the new King, James I, intended to do nothing to ease the plight of the Catholics in the country. In the 17th century, tensions increased between parliament and monarch, such that in 1641 the King and Parliament could not agree on the control of troops for repression of the Irish Rebellion. Civil war broke out the following year, leading to the execution of King Charles I in January 1649. Following the restoration of the Monarchy in 1660, the role of Parliament was enhanced by the events of 1668-1669 (the “Glorious Revolution” and the passage of the Bull of Rights which established the authority of Parliament over the King, the enshrined in law the principle of freedom of speech in parliamentary debates. 1707 brought the Union with Scotland and the first Parliament of Great Britain. Growing pressure for reform of parliament in the 18th and 19th centuries led to a series of Reform Acts which extended the electoral franchise to most men (over 21) in 1867 and finally to women over 21 in 1928. The legislative primacy of the House of Commons over the Lords was confirmed in the 20th century by the passing of the Parliamentary Acts of 1911 and 1949.

So, the theme of our work is the history of the British democracy, history of its parliament and house of Lords.

The aim of our term paper is to learn the history of British democracy and Wales democracy and to compare them.

The subject of the work is British and Wales democracy.

The learning and analysis of history of British democracy and it's colony Wales and its history of democracy is the theoretical part of our work. And comparison of its democracy would be the practical part of our work.

There are a lot of historians such as Krilov B. S. [7], Nesterova N. M. [9], Radovel V. A. [11], Devid Ross [12], H. McKinder [18] who analyzed the history of Great Britain and Wales democracy but there are no works in their comparison. We would compare history of their democracy that's why our term paper is of current importance.

Part 1

1.1 Historical background of democracy

- Democracy as a form of government disappeared from ancient Greece and, over the centuries, the translation of the principles and ideals of democracy into practice has been very rare throughout the world. Most people have been ruled by kings, queens, emperors or small elite groups and, except for certain members of the nobility, the people have had no voice in their government. That was the situation in Europe in 1492.

- By the 1700s, England had established 13 colonies in the eastern part of what is now the United States.

- Some of the early British colonists had come to the New World in hopes of enriching themselves; others came because. Britain forced them to leave - they were troublemakers or people who could not pay their debts. Some came because of the opportunity, which did not exist for them in Europe, to own land or practice a trade.

- In the course of its long history as a nation, Great Britain had taken several steps toward democracy. England (including Wales) had a parliament winch made laws, and most people enjoyed a degree of individual freedom.

- William Penn, a member of the Religious Society of Friends, founded the colony of Pennsylvania, where he set up laws protecting freedom of religion and speech. Those laws also enabled the Pennsylvania colonists to have a voice in their local government.

- Life in the colonies also helped strengthen democratic ideas. They had to work together to build shelter, provide food, clear the land for farms and in general to make their new home land livable for them. This need for cooperation and sharing, combined with a belief in individualism, strengthened the idea that in the New World people were equal; that no one should have special rights and privileges.

- Each colony had its own government. [2]

1.2 War and independence

- The British government required people to pay taxes, but gave them no voice in pausing the tax laws. The British motherland determined what the colonists could produce and with whom they could trade.

- In 1774, a group of leaders from the colonies met and formed the “Continental Congress”, which informed the king of the colonists' belief that, as free Englishmen, they should have a voice in determining laws that affected them. The king and the conservative government in London paid no heed to the concerns of the colonists, and many colonists felt that this was an injustice, which gave them reason to demand independence from Britain. In 1775, fighting broke out between New England militia and British soldiers.

- On July 4, 1776, Continental Congress issued a Declaration of Independence, primarily written by Thomas Jefferson, a farmer and lawyer from the colony of

Virginia. The Declaration described them as "free and independent slates" and officially named them the United Stales of America. The document says that all people are created equal, that all have the right to “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

-With help from France, England's old enemy, and from other Europeans, the American armies, led by George Washington, a surveyor and gentleman farmer from Virginia, won the War of Independence. The peace treaty signed in 1783.[17]

1.3 The history of parliament

Such developments encouraged the establishment of parliamentary structures. In 1265, Simon de Montfort called nobles and non-aristocrats to form a Council or Parliament to win the support of people. To it were invited not only the great barons and clergy, but also representatives of the knights of shires and from the towns. This initiative was followed in 1295 by the Model Parliament (because it served a model for later Parliaments) of Edward I, which was the first representative English Parliament. Its two sections consisted of the bishops, barons, two representatives of the knights of each shire and two representatives from each important town. In this way Parliament won the “power of the purse”: by refusing to agree to new taxes, it could force kings to do as it wished. As Parliament became more influential it won other rights, such as the power of impeach and try royal officials for misbehavior. From here we can conclude that by the end of Edward's reign the peculiarly English concept of government, in which a strong king with powerful royal officials is still limited by the common law and by Parliament, was complete.

However, the Parliament was too large to rule the country effectively. A Privy Council, comprising the monarch and court advisers, developed. This was the royal government outside Parliament, until it lost power to parliamentary structures in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

Although parliament now had some limited powers against the monarch, there was a return to royal dominance in Tudor England in 1485. Monarchs controlled Parliament and summoned it when they needed to raise money.[8]

Parliament showed more resistance to royal rule under the Stuart monarchy from 1603 by using its weapon of financial control. Parliament began to refuse royal requests for money. It forced Charles I to sign the Petition of Rights in 1628, which further restricted the monarch's powers and prevented him from raising taxes without Parliament's consent. Charles attempted to arrest parliamentary leaders in the House of Commons itself. His failure to do meant that the monarch was in future prohibited from entering the Commons. As the result of it civil war broke out in 1642. The Protestant Parliamentarians under O. Cromwell won the military struggle against the Catholic Royalists. Charles was beheaded in 1649 and thee monarchy was abolished. But it didn't last long in 1660 they restored the Stuart Charles II to the throne. Parliament ended his expansive wars and imposed further restrictions, such as Habeas Corpus Act in 1679, which stipulated that no citizen could be imprisoned without a fair and speedy trail.

In the early and mid sixteenth century country was ruled by King Henry VIII (king 1509-1547) who had made Parliament his willing tool and had replaced Catholicism with the Church of England. Henry was succeeded by three of his children (Edward VI, Mary I, Elizabeth I) in succession. But only Elizabeth made a great contribution during her reign (1558-1603). She allowed any form of worship that fit into the rather loose framework of ideas that Parliament had established for the Church of England. But she would accept none that conflicted with her authority as the head of that church. After the pope excommunicated her in 1570, she had Parliament declare that Catholicism was treason. Parliament lost power during her reign. It did not meet often, as she needed to ask it levy taxes for her. In theory Parliament continued to have all of the powers it had won during the Middle Ages.

The Elizabethan reign later was called “The English Renaissance”. And this is right. She did a lot to her Kingdom. On of it was the opening of the trade routs to Russia, trade companies like the East India Company, the Muscovy Company and the Virginia Company. [3]

The Stuart monarchs who succeeded Elizabeth try to impose absolutism and to rule by “divine right”. But the English Parliament, asserting its ancient rights and privileges, challenged them. The result was a struggle that lasted through the better part of the seventeenth century, culminating in the victory of Parliament over the kings. In the age when absolutism triumphed almost everywhere, England was the striking exception of the rule. Growing opposition to the Stuarts centered in Parliament. The Stuarts disliked Parliament, but were dependent upon it because only the House of Commons had the right to levy taxes. The Stuarts insisted they had absolute authority to follow whatever policies they chose. The conflict between Parliament and the king came to a climax under Charles I (king 1625-1649). In 1626 Charles found himself at war with both France and Spain. Parliament refused to grant new taxes until it had had “redress of grievances”. Led by Sir John Eliot, the members of Commons finally forced Charles to sign the “Petition of Right” in 1628. This pact guaranteed certain rights of Parliament and of individual Englishmen against their king.

The first Parliament of 1640, the so-called “Short” Parliament, mat less then a month. But soon after Charles was forced to call another Parliament, which came to be called the “Long” Parliament because it met off and on for twenty years (1640-1660). In 1641 the Long Parliament set out to dominate the government. More important, it passed a series of acts to make absolute monarchy impossible.

From 1642 to 1645 the civil war broke in England. It was between Supporters of King Charles (Cavaliers) and the supporters of the Parliament (Roundheads) under the rule of Oliver Cromwell. The “Roundheads” won in this war and the members who remained from the previous Parliament come to be called the “Rump” (sitting part of Parliament). In 1649 Charles was beheaded and later Oliver Cromwell became the King of England. After his death in 1658 his son Richard took control over the country. But he was a poor ruler and soon resigned. In 1660 the surviving members of the Long Parliament were called back into session to invite Charles Stuart to become King Charles II of England. [6]

Charles II had his problems with Parliament, but he was usually able to surmount them, and he always knew when the time had come to back down.

The growing power of Parliament against the monarch in the seventeenth century was reflected in the development of more organized political parties.

Two groups (Whigs and Tories) became dominant, and this feature was to characterize future British two-party politics, in which political power has shifted between two main parties. The Whigs didn't accept the Catholic sympathizer James II as successor to Charles II and wanted religious freedom for al Protestants. The Tories generally supported royalist beliefs, and helped Charles II to secure James's right to succeed him.

He (James) attempted to rule without Parliament and ignored his laws. His manipulations forced Tories to join Whigs in inviting the Protestant William of Orange to intervene. William arrived in England in 1688, James fled to France and William succeeded to the throne as England's first constitutional monarch. Since no force was involved, this event is called the Bloodless or Glorious Revolution. Royal powers were further restricted under the Declaration of Rights (1689), which strengthened Parliament and provided some civil liberties.

The Glorious Revolution of 1688 and the Bill of Rights of 1689 established Parliament once and for all as the equal partner of the king. This division of power was soon to prove itself a far more effective means of government than the absolute monarchies of the continent, and it assured that the constitutional development of England would continue.[15]

1.4 The House of Lords.

The House of Lords is the second chamber of the UK Houses of Parliament. Members of the House of Lords (known as “peers”) consist of Lords Spiritual (senior bishops) and Lords temporal (lay peers). Law Lords (senior judges) also sit as Lords Temporal. Members of the House of Lords are not elected. Originally they were drawn from the various groups of senior and influential nobility in Britain, who advised the monarch throughout the country's early history.

Following the House of Lords Act 1999 there are only 92 peers who sit by virtue of hereditary peerage. The majority of members are now life peers and the Government has been consulting on proposals for further reform of the Lords.

There were 689 peers in total in May 2003.

In general, the functions of the House of Lords are similar to those of the House of Commons in legislating, debating and questioning the executive. There are two important exceptions: members of the Lords do not represent constituencies, and are not involved in matters of taxation and finance. The role of the Lords is generally recognized to be complementary to that of the Commons and it acts as a revising chamber for many of the more important and controversial bills.

All bills go through both Houses before becoming Acts, and start in either House. Normally, the consent of the Lords is required before Acts of Parliament can be passed, and the Lords can amend all legislation, with the exception of bills to raise taxation, long seen as the responsibility of the Commons. Amendments have to be agreed by both Houses. The House of Lords is as active as the Commons in amending bills, and spends two-thirds of its time revising legislation.

Following the Lord's rejection of the Liberal Government's budget of 1909, the Parliament Act of 1911 ended their power to reject legislation. A power of delay was substituted, which was further curtailed by the Parliament Act of 1949. The House of Commons can present a bill (except one to prolong the life of Parliament) for Royal Assent after one year and in a new session even if the Lords have not given their agreement. There is also a convention (known as the “Salisbury” convention) that the Government's manifesto commitments, in the form of Government Bills, are not voted down by the House of Lords at second reading.

The House of Lords is also the final court of appeal for civil cases in the United Kingdom and for the criminal cases in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Only the Lords of Appeal (law Lords) - of whom there are 12 employed full-time - take part in judicial proceedings.[14]

Organization of the House of Lords. The Speakership of the House of Lords has traditionally been performed by the Lord Chancellor. The Lord Chancellor's powers as Speaker have been very limited compared with the Speaker of the House of Commons, since the Lords themselves control the proceedings under the guidance of the Leader of the House. Lord's business is expected to be conducted in an orderly and polite fashion without the need for an active Speaker. The Lord Chancellor sits on a special seat called the Woolsack except when the House is in Committee, but does not call upon members to speak and has no power to call the House to order.

This has been due in part to the Lord Chancellor's constitutionally unique position: before the reforms announced on the 12th of June 2003, the Lord Chancellor had been simultaneously a Cabinet minister with department responsibilities, the Speaker of the House of Lords and the head of the judiciary in England and Wales. The government is now intent on a separation of these powers and on the abolition of the office of Lord Chancellor.

Other office holders in the House of Lords include government ministers and whips, the Leader and Chief Whip of the main opposition party, and two Chairmen of Committees. The Leader of the House occupies a special position in the House of Lords: as well as leading the party in government he has a responsibility to the House as a whole. It is to him, and not the Lord Chancellor, that members have turned for advice and leadership on points of order and procedure.

These office holders and officers, together with the Law Lords, receive salaries. All other members of the House of Lords are unpaid, but they are entitled to reimbursement of their expenses, within maximum limits for each day on which they attend the House. The Clerk of the Parliament, a role like that of a chief execute, is head of administration. The Gentlemen Usher of the Black Rod has ceremonial and royal duties and is in charge of security, access and domestic matters.

Members of the House of Lords are not elected and, with the exception of bishops who leave the House on retirement, they retain their seats for life.[17]

1.5 Years of dawn of Britannic democracy (18th-20th centuries)

1.5.1 18th century. King, Parliament and church

In 1714 George Hanover became George l of England (1714-1727). Ye was only distantly related to the English Royal Family, but he was the nearest Protestant heir. He was wholly German in language, culture and political outlook. He spoke no English and left many decisions to his ministers, who became known as the Cabinet. They were usually members of the House of Lords, and chosen from the Whig Party, who had supported the Hanoverian claim to the throne.

During the 18th century the power and importance of Parliament continued to grow, so its support was vital to the king and Cabinet. Ministers often gained support in the House of Commons by bribing or making deals with MPs. Most MPs came from the upper classes and had rich friends who helped to get them elected. In some areas (known as pocket boroughs) elections were run by local landowners who put pressure on voters to choose a particular candidate. It is thought that over half the MPs in the Commons were elected in this way.

Between 1711 and 1714 the Tories passed acts forbidding Non-Conformists (people who did not belong to the Anglican Church) from holding public office and setting up their own schools. In 1719 the Whigs repealed these acts, and became popular with non-conformists as a result. At that time the Anglican Church was becoming increasingly disorganized and corrupt. In 1729 two brothers, John and Charles Wesley, began preaching around the country. They thought the Church was failing its duty to the poor and they preached modernization and self-denial. The Wesley's made many converts, especially in the countryside, and their followers became known as Methodists.

George l was not much of real ruler, and he left the running of the government to his chief minister Robert Walpole. In 1732 MPs began to call him the `Prime Minister' although the name was not officially recognized until 1905. George spent as much time as he could in Hanover or in his trips to and fro, and died on his way there.

George ll (1727-1760) presided, without great enthusiasm, over a period of unprecedented prosperity for Britain at home and abroad. It was a heyday af the English aristocracy, whose great and beautiful houses studded the land. The royal count, by contrast, was a dull and almost insipid affair, revived only by the King's passion for music, and admiration for Handel. George's one claim for distinction was military: he fought well and was the last reigning King of England to lead troops into battle, which he did in 1743, when he advanced on foot at the head of his infantry, and defeated the French. No one could ever accuse George ll of lacking courage.[5]

1.5.2 Political Groups of 19th century

At the beginning of the century there were three political groups: the Whigs, the Tories and the Radicals (a term first used in the 18th century to describe anyone advocating fundamental political or social reforms). Until 1858 all MPs had to be property owners (and before 1911 they were unpaid). As a result Parliament was dominated by the upper classes. The working classes could not vote and had limited political power. Only the Radicals campaigned for widespread social and electoral reform. Most Tories wanted the parliamentary system to stay as it was, and the Whigs only supported moderate change.

In the second half of the century two new parties appeared: the Liberal Party, which was formed in 1859 after the split in the Tory party, and the independent Labor Party, which was formed in 1893 by and for the working classes, and was set up and renamed the Labour Party in 1906.[9]

1.5.3 Social and political change in 1900-1939

The Liberal government of 1906 to 1915 introduced measures to improve the lives of children, the sick, the elderly and the unemployed. In 1911 a National

Insurance scheme was set up to cover medical care for employers. These reforms were paid for out of increased income tax.

Trade unions gradually gained power and used the threat of strikes.

By 1921 unemployment had risen to two millions. In 1926 the miners went on strike because they were being threatened with longer hours and cut in wages. The Trade Dispute Act making sympathy strikes illegal. During World War l the Labour Party grew in popularity. It came to power for the first time in 1924 and again in 1929.

In the beginning of the century many socially active women campaigned for women's rights, and above all for the right to vote in parliamentary elections. They were known as Suffragettes. It was a long struggle and some women went to prison for their political activities. In 1919 women over the age of 30 were finally given the vote. In 1928 the age limit was lowered to 21, the same as for men.

The world economy deteriorated in the 1930s. this was due to the effects of the World War l and the failure of the American money market in 1929 (known as the Wall Street Crash). All countries which traded with America were affected; businesses were ruined and there was huge unemployment. By 1935 the situation in Britain began to improve.

In 1937 Southern Ireland became a sovereign state and was renamed Eire. Eire now ruled itself, under their President, although the British monarch was still head of state. [12]

Part 2

2.1. Britannic democracy and Wales democracy

2.1.1 Political representation of Wales before coming of Reform

The Act of Union granted Wales 27 seven members of parliament, a number that lasted until the Reform Act of 1832. The MPs constituted some 7% of the membership of the House of Commons, a percentage roughly similar to Wales' proportion of the UK's population. In the county constituencies, the vote was vested in freeholders owning land worth Ј2 a year; in the boroughs it was the burgesses who were generally the voters. Both the county and borough systems were open to manipulation by landed families. There were few genuine freeholders and most county voters were enfranchised through leases granted them by their landlords. Almost all boroughs were controlled by estate owners and it is they who decided who became burgesses. The system in Wales was still less corrupt than it was in much of England. There were no completely rotten boroughs, fewer towns with no representation at all, and the inequality between the counties was not as blatant. Nevertheless, with voting a public act, less than 5% of adult males enfranchised, bribery rampant and estate owners virtually the only moneyed class, landlord dominance of the electoral process was inevitable. By the late 18th century, a tight group of some 20 families controlled the parliamentary representation of Wales. It was generally decided not by the casting of votes, but by private arrangements which ensured the emergence of a single unopposed candidate. In the general election of 1830, for example, not one of the Welsh constituencies was contested. [11] The beginnings of political radicalism Mid 18th century Wales provided ample evidence of robust popular interest in political factions but little concern for political principles. There were some stirrings during the American War of Independence with more as a result of the French Revolution. In the 1790s radical doctrines were embraced by a tiny minority, most of whom were drawn from the libertarian wing of Nonconformity. Government repression - allied with religious fatalism - undermined this movement, but the need for reform resurfaced through newspapers such as the Swansea Cambrian (founded in 1804) and some Welsh-language periodicals, publications which began to strike roots in the 1820s.The rights of Nonconformists loomed large in such publications, an issue which necessarily challenged current political dispensations. At the same time, the industrialists, aware of their contribution to the economy, were increasingly prepared to attack the power of the landowners. After much contention the Reform Act of 1832 was secured. It was a very modest measure which increased the proportion of the adult male population having the right to vote from about 5% to 8%.Its significance lay in the fact that it displayed the willingness of the British ruling class to reform itself, a step which ensures a non-revolutionary if lengthy and troubled path to democracy. The act gave Wales five additional MPs. It also rationalized the borough franchise and gave the vote to male county dwellers paying at least Ј50 a year in rent.[12]

2.1.2 The Early Governors of New South Wales Governor Lachlan Macquarie

In 1770 Captain James Cook sailed along the east coast of Australia, the first European to do so. On 22 August, at Possession Island in the Torres Strait, Cook wrote in his journal: "I now once more hoisted English Coulers and in the Name of His Majesty King George the Third, took possession of the whole Eastern Coast from the above Latitude down to this place by the name of New South Wales." What exactly about the Australian coast reminded Cook of South Wales is not known. Cook's proclamation made the whole of Australia British territory, except for the western third, which was still regarded as Dutch New Holland. New South Wales as proclaimed by Cook extended from Tasmania to Cape York.

This claim was not made good until January 1788, when Arthur Phillip arrived with the First Fleet to found a convict settlement at what is now Sydney. Phillip, as Governor of New South Wales, exercised nominal authority over all of Australia east of the 135th meridian, as well as New Zealand.[1] For the next 40 years the history of New South Wales was identical with the History of Australia, since it was not until 1803 that any settlements were made outside the current boundaries of New South Wales, and these, at Hobart and Launceston in Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania), were at first dependencies of New South Wales. It was not until 1825 that Van Diemen's Land became a separate colony. In 1829 Western Australia was proclaimed a colony, and the border between it and New South Wales was set at the 129th meridian.

The indigenous Australians or Aboriginal people had lived in what is now New South Wales for at least 50,000 years, making their living through hunting, gathering and fishing. The impact of European settlement on these people was immediate and devastating. They had no natural resistance to European diseases, and epidemics of measles and smallpox spread far ahead of the frontier of settlement, radically reducing population and fatally disrupting indigenous society. Although there was some resistance to European occupation, in general the indigenous people were evicted from their lands without difficulty. Dispossession, disease, violence and alcohol reduced them to a remnant within a generation in most areas. (In the 20th century the indigenous population recovered: by 2001 the indigenous population of New South Wales was 134,888 according to the census, making it the state with the largest indigenous population.)[10]

New South Wales struggled in its early days for economic self-sufficiency, since supplies from Britain were few and inadequate. The whaling industry provided some early revenue, but it was the development of the wool industry by John MacArthur and other enterprising settlers that created the colony's first major export industry. For the first half of the 19th century New South Wales was essentially a sheep run, supported by the port of Sydney and a few subsidiary towns such as Newcastle (founded in 1797) and Bathurst (1815). In 1821 there were still only 36,000 Europeans in the country. Although the number of free settlers began to increase rapidly after the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815, convicts were still 40% of the population in 1820, and it was not until the 1820s that free settlers began to occupy most of what is now rural New South Wales, producing fine wool for export to the knitting mills of industrial Britain. The period from 1820 to 1850 is regarded as the golden age of the squatters.

William Wentworth

Constitutionally, New South Wales was founded as an autocracy run by the Governor, although he nearly always exercised his powers within the restraints of British law. In practice the early Governors ruled by consent, with the advice of military officers, officials and leading settlers. The military deposed Governor William Bligh in 1808, but this led to the appointment of Lachlan Macquarie, a strong Governor who re-established the authority of the civil power. In 1825 the New South Wales Legislative Council, Australia's oldest legislative body, was established, as an appointed body to advise the Governor. In the same year trial by jury was introduced, ending the military's judicial power. In 1842 the Council was made partly elective, through the agitation of democrats like William Wentworth. This development was made possible by the abolition of transportation of convicts to New South Wales in 1840, by which time 150,000 convicts had been sent to Australia. After 1840 the settlers saw themselves as a free people and demanded the same rights they would have had in Britain.

A golden age of a new kind began in 1851 with the discovery of gold near Bathurst. In that year New South Wales had about 200,000 people, a third of them within a day's ride of Sydney, the rest scattered along the coast and through the pastoral districts, from the Port Phillip District in the south to Moreton Bay in the north. In 1836 a new colony of South Australia had been established, and its territory separated from New South Wales. The gold rushes of the 1850s brought a huge influx of settlers, although initially the majority of them went to the richest gold fields at Ballarat and Bendigo, in the Port Phillip District, which in 1851 was separated to become the colony of Victoria. Victoria soon had a larger population than New South Wales, and its upstart capital, Melbourne, outgrew Sydney. But the New South Wales gold fields also attracted a flood of prospectors, and by 1857 the colony had more than 300,000 people. In 1858 a new gold rush began in the far north, which led in 1859 to the separation of Queensland as a new colony. New South Wales thus attained its present borders, although what is now the Northern Territory remained part of the colony until 1863, when it was handed over to South Australia.

The separation and rapid growth of Victoria and Queensland mark the real beginning of New South Wales as a political and economic entity distinct from the other Australian colonies. Rivalry between New South Wales and Victoria was intense throughout the second half of the 19th century, and the two colonies developed in radically different directions. Once the easy gold ran out by about 1860, Victoria absorbed the surplus labour force from the gold fields in manufacturing, protected by high tariff walls. Victoria became the Australian stronghold of protectionism, liberalism and radicalism, its politics typified by David Syme and his newspaper The Age. New South Wales, which was less radically affected demographically by the gold rushes, remained more conservative, still dominated politically by the squatter class and its allies in the Sydney business community. New South Wales, as a trading and exporting colony, remained wedded to free trade, and its conservative politics were well represented by John Fairfax's Sydney Morning Herald.[12]

Sir Henry Parkes

The end of transportation and the rapid growth of population following the gold rush led to a demand for "British institutions" in New South Wales, which meant an elected parliament and responsible government. In 1851 the franchise for the Legislative Council was expanded, but this did not satisfy the settlers, many of whom (such as the young Henry Parkes) had been Chartists in Britain in the 1840s. Successive Governors warned the Colonial Office of the dangers of republicanism if the demands for self-government were not met. There was, however, a prolonged battle between the conservatives, now led by Wentworth, and the democrats as to what kind of constitution New South Wales would have. The key issue was control of the pastoral lands, which the democrats wanted to take away from the squatters and break up into farms for settlers. Wentworth wanted a hereditary upper house controlled by the squatters to prevent any such possibility. The radicals, led by rising politicians like Parkes and journalists like Daniel Deniehy, ridiculed suggestions of a "bunyip aristocracy."

The result was the New South Wales Constitution Act of 1855, steered through the British Parliament by the veteran radical Lord John Russell, who wanted a constitution which balanced democratic elements against the interests of property, as did the Parliamentary system in Britain at this time. The Act created a bicameral Parliament of New South Wales, with a lower house, the New South Wales Legislative Assembly, consisting of 54 members elected by adult males who met a moderate property qualification (anyone who owned property worth a hundred pounds, or earned a hundred pounds a year, or held a pastoral license, or who paid ten pounds a year for lodgings, could vote). The Assembly districts were heavily malapportioned in favour of the rural areas. The Legislative Council was to consist of at least 21 members (but with no upper limit) appointed for life by the Governor, and Council members had to meet a higher property qualification.

These seemed like formidable barriers to democracy, but in practice they did not prove so, because the Constitution Act could be modified by simple majorities of both Houses. In 1858 the property franchise for the Assembly was abolished, and the secret ballot introduced. Since the principle that the Governor should always act on the advice of his ministers was soon established, a Premier whose bills were rejected by the Council could simply advise the Governor to appoint more members until the opposition was "flooded": usually the threat of "flooding" was enough. The ministry of Charles Cowper marked the victory of colonial liberalism, although New South Wales liberals were never as radical as those in Victoria or South Australia. The major battle for the liberals, unlocking the lands from the squatters, was more or less won by John Robertson, five times Premier during the 1860s, who passed the Robertson Land Acts to break up the squatters' estates.

From the 1860s onwards government in New South Wales became increasingly stable and assured. Fears of class conflict faded as the population bulge resulting from the gold rushes was accommodated on the newly available farmlands and in the rapidly growing towns. The last British troops left the colony in 1870, and law and order was maintained by the police and a locally raised militia, which had little to do apart from catching a few bushrangers. The only issue which really excited political passions in this period was education, which was the source of bitter conflict between Catholics, Protestants, and secularists, who all had conflicting views on how schools should be operated, funded and supervised. This was a major preoccupation for Henry Parkes, the dominant politician of the period (he was Premier five times between 1872 and 1889). In 1866 Parkes, as Education Minister, brought in a compromise Schools Act that brought all religious schools under the supervision of public boards, in exchange for state subsidies. But in 1880 the secularists won out when Parkes withdrew all state aid for church schools and established a statewide system of free secular schools.

New South Wales and Victoria continued to develop along divergent paths. Parkes and his successor as leader of the New South Wales liberals, George Reid, were Gladstonian liberals committed to free trade, which they saw as both economically beneficial and as necessary for the unity of the British Empire. They regarded Victorian protectionism as economically foolish and narrowly parochial. It was this hostility between the two largest colonies, symbolised by Victorian customs posts along the Murray River, which prevented any moves towards uniting the Australian colonies, even after the advent of the railways and the telegraph made travel and communication between the colonies much easier by the 1870s. So long as Victoria was larger and richer than New South Wales, the mother colony (as it liked to see itself) would never agree to surrender its free trade principles to a national or federal government which would be dominated by Victorians. [18]

George Reid

By the 1890s, however, several factors began to change this situation. The great land boom in Victoria in the 1880s was followed a prolonged depression, which allowed New South Wales to recover the economic and demographic superiority it had lost in the 1850s. There was a steady rise in imperial sentiment in the 1880s and '90s, which made the creation of united Australian dominion seem an important imperial project. The intrusion of other colonial powers such as France and Germany into the south-west Pacific area made colonial defence an urgent question, which became more urgent with the rise of Japan as an expansionist power. Finally the issue of Chinese and other non-European immigration made federation of the colonies an important issue, with advocates of a White Australia policy arguing the necessity of a national immigration policy.

As a result the movement for federation was initiated by Parkes with his Tenterfield Oration of 1889 (earning him the title "Father of Federation"), and carried forward after Parkes' death by another New South Wales politician, Edmund Barton. Opinion in New South Wales about federation remained divided through the 1890s. The northern and southern border regions, which were most inconvenienced by the colonial borders and the system of intercolonial tariffs, were strongly in favour, while many in the Sydney commercial community were sceptical, fearing that a national Parliament would impose a national tariff (which was indeed what happened). The first attempt at federation in 1891 failed, mainly as a result of the economic crisis of the early '90s. It was the federalists of the border regions who revived the federal movement in the later '90s, leading up to the Constitutional Convention of 1897-98 which adopted a draft Australian Constitution.

When the draft was put to referendum in New South Wales in 1899, Reid (Free Trade Premier from 1894 to 1899), adopted an equivocal position, earning him the nickname "Yes-No Reid." The draft was rejected, mainly because New South Wales voters thought it gave the proposed Senate, which would dominated by the smaller states, too much power. Reid was able to bargain with the other Premiers to modify the draft so that it suited New South Wales interests, and the draft was then approved. On 1 January 1901 New South Wales ceased to be a self-governing colony and became a state of the Commonwealth of Australia. Although the new Governor-General and Prime Minister were sworn in in Sydney, Melbourne was to be the new national capital until a new seat of government was established. This was to be in New South Wales, but at least 100 miles (160km) from Sydney. The first Prime Minister (Barton) the first Opposition Leader (Reid) and the first Labor leader (Chris Watson) were all from New South Wales.[19]

Jack Lang

At the time of federation the New South Wales economy was still heavily based on agriculture, particularly wool growing, although mining - coal from the Hunter Valley and silver, lead and zinc from Broken Hill - was also important. Federation was followed by the imposition of protective tariffs just as the Sydney Free Traders had feared, and this boosted domestic manufacturing. Farmers, however, suffered from increased costs, as well as from the prolonged drought that afflicted the state at the turn of the century. A further boost to both manufacturing and farming came from the increased demand during World War I. By the 1920s New South Wales was overtaking Victoria as the centre of Australian heavy industry, symbolised by the Broken Hill Proprietary (BHP) steelworks at Newcastle, opened in 1915, and another steel mill at Port Kembla in 1928.

The growth of manufacturing and mining brought with it the growth of an industrial working class. Trade unions had been formed in New South Wales as early as the 1850s, but it was great labor struggles of the 1890s that led them to move into politics. The most important was the Australian Workers' Union (AWU), formed from earlier unions by William Spence and others in 1894. The defeat of the great shearers' and maritime strikes in the 1890s led the AWU to reject direct action and to take the lead in forming the Labor Party. Labor had its first great success in 1891, when it won 35 seats in the Legislative Assembly, mainly in the pastoral and mining areas. This first parliamentary Labor Party, led by Joseph Cook, supported Reid's Free Trade government, but broke up over the issue of free trade versus protection, and also over the "pledge" which the unions required Labor members to take always to vote in accordance with majority decisions. After federation, Labor, led by James McGowen, soon recovered, and won its first majority in the Assembly in 1910, when McGowen became the state's first Labor Premier.

This early experience of government, plus the social base of New South Wales party in the rural areas rather than in the militant industrial working class of the cities, made New South Wales Labor notably more moderate than its counterparts in other states, and this in turn made it more successful at winning elections. The growth of the coal, iron, steel and shipbuilding industries gave Labor new "safe" areas in Newcastle and Wollongong, while the mining towns of Broken Hill and the Hunter also became Labor strongholds. As a result of these factors, Labor has ruled New South Wales for 59 of the 96 years since 1910, and every leader of the New South Wales Labor Party except one has become Premier of the state.

But Labor came to grief in New South Wales as elsewhere during World War I, when the Premier, William Holman, supported the Labor Prime Minister Billy Hughes in his drive to introduce conscription. New South Wales voters rejected both attempts by Hughes to pass a referendum authorising conscription, and in 1916 Hughes, Holman, Watson, McGowen, Spence and many other founders of the party were expelled, forming the Nationalist Party under Hughes and Holman. Federal Labor did not recover from this split for many years, but New South Wales Labor was back in power by 1920, although this government lasted only 18 months, and again from 1925 under Jack Lang.[13]

In the years after World War I it was the farmers rather than the workers who were the most discontented and militant class in New South Wales. The high prices enjoyed during the war fell with the resumption of international trade, and farmers became increasingly discontented with the fixed prices paid by the compulsory marketing authorities set up as a wartime measure by the Hughes government. In 1919 the farmers formed the Country Party, led at national level by Earle Page, a doctor from Grafton, and at state level by Michael Bruxner, a small farmer from Tenterfield. The Country Party used its reliable voting base to make demands on successive non-Labor governments, mainly to extract subsidies and other benefits for farmers, as well as public works in rural areas.

The Great Depression which began in 1929 ushered a period of unprecedented political and class conflict in New South Wales. The mass unemployment and collapse of commodity prices brought ruin to both city workers and to farmers. The beneficiary of the resultant discontent was not the Communist Party, which remained small and weak, but Jack Lang's Labor populism. Lang's second government was elected in November 1930 on a policy of repudiating New South Wales' debt to British bondholders and using the money instead to help the unemployed through public works. This was denounced as illegal by conservatives, and also by James Scullin's federal Labor government. The result was that Lang's supporters in the federal Caucus brought down Scullin's government, causing a second bitter split in the Labor Party. in May 1932 the Governor, Sir Philip Game, convinced that Lang was acting illegally, dismissed his government, and Labor spent the rest of the 1930s in opposition.[13]

By the outbreak of World War II in 1939, the differences between New South Wales and the other states that had emerged in the 19th century had faded as a result of federation and economic development behind a wall of protective tariffs. New South Wales continued to outstrip Victoria as the centre of industry, and increasingly of finance and trade as well. The radicalism of the Lang period subsided as the Depression eased, and his removal as Labor Leader in 1939 marked the permanent (as it turned out) defeat of the left of the New South Wales Labor Party. Labor returned to office under the moderate leadership of William McKell in 1941 and stayed in power for 24 years. World War II saw another surge in industrial development to meet the needs of a war economy, and also the elimination of unemployment. When Ben Chifley, a railwayman from Bathurst, became Prime Minister in 1945, New South Wales Labor assumed what it saw as its rightful position of national leadership.

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