Definition of Reform Act in English:

Reform Act

noun

  • An act framed to amend the system of parliamentary representation, especially any of those introduced in Britain during the 19th century.

    • ‘Liberal horizons narrowed even more when the electorate, as the result of the Reform Act of 1918, expanded threefold not just by enfranchising women over 30 but non-householder men.’
    • ‘The 1832 Reform Act revised the parliamentary franchise, both in terms of which boroughs were represented and of who was entitled to vote.’
    • ‘Despite strong popular agitation, the 1832 Reform Act had no whiff whatever of democracy about it: it put the old property franchises on a uniform and more rational basis, only increasing the electorate from about 435,000 to some 652,000.’
    • ‘The dismal piece of history made on 5 May is that Tony Blair was re-elected with a meagre 36 per cent of the vote, making Labour the most unpopular party to form a majority government since the 1832 Reform Act.’
    • ‘He was largely responsible for the introduction of the second Reform Act, which doubled the electorate.’

The first Reform Act (1832) disenfranchised various rotten boroughs and lowered the property qualification, widening the electorate by about 50 per cent to include most of the male members of the upper middle class. The second (1867) doubled the electorate to about 2 million men by again lowering the property qualification, and the third (1884) increased it to about 5 million