1. Monarchy on the British Isles
Indeed, the inhabitants of the British Isles were not the inventors of the monarchy. The term itself comes from old Greek, a language in which mono archon meant “one ruler” (archein = to rule) and defined the ancient type of totalitarian ruler, specific for all ancient cultures. The modern understanding of this term has lost its initial meaning, now referring to the ruler of a country, who passes on the attributes of his/her power to a member of the same family, according to hereditary rules, or by appointment (in less frequent cases – when the Parliament of the respective monarchy decides who should be the next King or Queen). Therefore, most monarchs inherit their title and continue to rule for the rest of their lives.
For the modern person, monarchy is connected to tradition, to a set of somewhat rigid rules which seem to “ignore” the spectacular changes of the modern world. One of them preserves the link (specific mainly for ancient times) between politics and religion: in the European monarchies, for instance, any coronation ceremony is performed by the head of the Church (the Pope, the Archbishop of Canterbury etc.) – thus preserving a long enduring tradition, that of the Roman Empire. In time, and especially in the 16th and 17th centuries, absolute monarchs made great efforts to justify what they considered as their “divine rights” on Earth. Yet, by that time, long fought for rights of nobles and burg citizens alike had concluded with the writing of fundamental documents (constitutions) which limited the monarch’s powers.
When asked about the English monarchy, most people think of William the Conqueror and the mediaeval times. Yet England had had many monarchs before that, during the rule of the Anglo-Saxons. Starting with the 5th century A.D. the Anglo-Saxon kings continued to lead the communities living on that land until 1066, based on a well structured social and political system and a common language which united those communities. Kings were followed on the throne by their eldest son (or daughter) – the system based on cognatic primogeniture, which was preserved throughout the Middle Age and modern times. In other parts of Europe, monarchies followed the rule of the agnatic primogeniture (whereby women were excluded from potential succession – similarly to the Salic law).
The monarchic concept was also exported to various territories which became part of the British colonial Empire. Local rulers became regents (vassals of the British King or Queen) and, though having limited powers due to the presence of British Governors, exerted a totalitarian rule over their own communities.
Today, the British monarchy is one of only ten surviving European monarchies. The role of the monarch has diminished in time, and especially during the 20th century. Queen Elizabeth II, for instance, has limited powers and only a decorative role in the context of British political decisions. Tradition, however, makes her one of the most respected and loved personalities in her country.
2. Political organization (first Parliament)
The political institution of the Parliament originated in England in the Middle Age. But the Anglo-Saxons also had a council of elders whose task was to take the right decisions for the community – the witenagemot [witunúgimot]. In Old English, this means “meeting of counsellors” (witan = counsellors of the Anglo-Saxon King – all of whom belonged to the A-S aristocracy). The Anglo-Saxon witenagemot included representatives of the nobility and religious leaders – the two categories with a major influence in the state. The number of council members varied according to local each king and his decisions; the counsellors had to give their assent in what laws, taxes, defence or negotiations with other princes were concerned. The meetings of the witan were not regular but they took place at any time as chosen by the king for taking decisions in important matters (See http://www.infoplease.com/ for other details).
In the 13th century the kings of Britain gathered the aristocracy and clergy representatives around them under the name of Curia Regis (Royal Court). This gathering laid the foundation for what is now known as the House of Lords. Members of Curia Regis only had executive powers, because all major decisions were taken by the king himself.
In 1265 (during the so-called “Barons’ War”) Simon de Montfort organized a Parliament which included representatives of Anglo-Saxon counties, towns and lesser clergy in an effort to gain the support of middle classes. Thirty years later (1295) Edward I summoned the Model Parliament that included high ranked and lesser clergymen, merchants, two knights from each county, and two representatives from each town in the effort to organize a body that would represent all major social classes, and this type of council remained unchanged for more than 50 years.
However, little by little, the representatives of the clergy withdrew from this Parliament almost completely (only 2 of them were left) but the remaining members gradually built the unitary body that took the name of House of Commons.
By the 15th century the Parliament had lost its administrative and legislative powers, especially due to the fact that the York kings and then the Tudor monarchs were very strong and turned the Parliament into an instrument of their will. However, during the last four centuries, periods of totalitarian rule alternated with times when the Parliament became stronger. The 20th century saw the monarch’s powers reduced to matters of protocol and traditional ritual. Once a year, the monarch speaks in front of the House of Commons (where he/she is only admitted after performing a special ritual – knocking three times on the massive doors) about the state of the nation; the tradition of this speech was established in the 15th century.
3. Major legal documents (Magna Charta 1215)
Also known under the name of “Mother of all Constitutions”, Magna Charta Libertatum, the legal document which acknowledged the rights of English nobles and restricted the totalitarian powers of the king was passed by king John (also known as “Lackland”) in 1215. Since Britain is still a monarchy, Magna Charta is still valid today, not having been replaced by a modern type of constitution. Britain and Israel are the only two countries in the world that do not have a “constitution” (a single representative legal document), but a number of legal documents which, together, stand for such an act.
Magna Carta Libertatum (“The Great Charter of Freedoms”) was issued in 1215, and it is considered the basis for what constitutional British law is today. Historians consider that it largely influenced the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Also, it is considered “one of the most important documents in the history of democracy” – Wikipedia).
Reason for being written: disagreements between King John (absolutist monarch, in the tradition of Norman kings) and the English aristocrats (who wanted the king to renounce certain rights and to abide by the law).
Many of its initial clauses were renewed during the late Middle Ages and in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Effects: It limited the power and prerogatives of the King or Queen (but some of these were reinstated during the following centuries).
The Petition of Rights is another key document of the British legal system. It was passed by the English Parliament during Charles I reign (1628).
Reasons for being written: trying unsuccessfully to avoid a civil war, aristocrats aimed to stop arbitrary arrests and imprisonments (“contrary to Magna Carta”), the king’s interference with property rights, the forced loans and the fact that the “habeas corpus” law was not enforced.
Effects: the fact that the King maintained his rights, although he had promised to “look into the abuses”, determined the outburst of the Civil War.
The Bill of Rights (1689) is an act which was passed by the Parliament of England (complete title: An Act Declaring the Rights and Liberties of the Subject and Settling the Succession of the Crown) and which, together with Magna Carta, the Act of Settlement and various other Parliament Acts, is considered one of the basic documents of English constitutional law.
The Bill of Rights is also an important part of the legal system of some Commonwealth states (e.g. New Zealand), and a similar document (called the Claim of Right) is applied in Scotland.
Reason for being written: to assert the citizens’ fundamental rights (e.g. the right to petition the Monarch, the right to bear arms for defence) and to define certain obligations of the monarch (e.g. he/she must always ask for the consent of the Parliament for certain actions of the Crown – for instance, in case of war). Unlike the Bill of Rights of the US, this is only a list of rights referring to the people as represented in the Parliament (only Magna Carta sets out individual rights).
Effects: The first 8 amendments to the US Constitution are based on the English Bill of Rights.
The Act of Settlement (1701) was passed by the English Parliament, being an important legal document for the future of the Royalty.
Reason for being written: in order to settle the succession to the throne in favour of Protestant monarchs.
King William III was a widower and had no children, and according to the existing law the line of succession was limited. The main purpose was to allow the succession to continue in the Protestant line, and to exclude any Catholic claims to the throne.
Effects: no Catholic monarchs in England/Britain since that time.
The Acts of Union (1706/1707 with Scotland, 1800/1801 with Ireland)
Reason for being signed: these acts confirmed the union of Scotland and Ireland respectively, to the Kingdom of England, as an effect of political will.
One of the reasons on the part of the English was to establish the Royal succession along Protestant lines. Also, England worried that a Scottish king might make alliances against England.
Effects: through the Act of Union of 1707, a new state – The Kingdom of Great Britain – was created.
The Parliament of England and that of Scotland were dissolved and a new Parliament emerged – the Parliament of Great Britain, based at Westminster.
In the case of the Act of Union with the Irish (passed 1800/ made effective1801) non-Anglicans had no right to become members of the Parliament (around 90% of the Irish population was thus excluded). The newly emerging state took the name of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
In order to offer larger representational rights to all citizens, in 1829 a Catholic Emancipation Act was passed, allowing Irish Catholics to become members of the Parliament.
4. Break-up with traditional state religion (Henry VIII)
Henry VIII is mostly known for three major reasons: for being an absolute monarch, for breaking away from the dominance of the Pope and Catholicism (thereby setting up a new Christian confession named The Church of England along with the dissolution of all monasteries), as well as for having had six wives (of whom only the last outlived him, the others having had quite dramatic deaths).
See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_VIII_of_England for an extensive presentation of Henry VIII’s life and actions.
The most important event which took place during his reign is the so-called English Reformation, which led to the replacement of Papal supremacy by the Church of England. Documentary sources present the king’s decision as having been motivated primarily by political reasons (all catholic churches and monasteries were very rich and independent from the English monarch, because their leader was the Pope). Catholic communities were very powerful and Catholic counselors exerted their dominance at the Royal Court as well, putting constant pressure on the king. The riches of said churches and monasteries were also considered as an important source for financing various state projects at Henry’s will. The pretext, however, was a more mundane one – the king seemingly wanting to break his marriage with Catherine of Aragon in order to marry a younger lady, Ann Boleyn (in hope of producing a male heir).
The breech with the Pope in Rome took place in the spring of 1534; a year before that the Pope had excommunicated the rebel king (some documentary sources place this event as late as 1338). The immediate result was England’s religious independence, which inspired other European countries to break away from Rome and Catholicism, by embracing Protestant confessions.
The cultural background was appropriate for such a move. It was the time of Martin Luther and of his claim that the Catholic Church had become heretical and no longer upheld the original teachings of Jesus and the Apostles. It was a time when Catholic priests sold indulgencies – papers by which, in exchange for a sum of money, they granted people’s ascent to Heavens and the forgiveness of all sins – thereby gathering large amounts of money which could not be touched by the civil state.
Henry VIII determined the Parliament to pass a number of acts which neutralized any further action by the Catholic Church on the English territory; he himself was declared “the only Supreme Head in Earth of the Church of England”; anyone who challenged this title risked the death penalty for treason.
Being a monarch who had great faith in his own power and authority, Henry VIII also made certain changes in the type of vocabulary used in the Royal Court. He was the first to use the term “Majesty” (inspired from French) as an alternative for the existing “Royal Highness” or “Grace”. In 1535 he proclaimed himself “Henry VIII, by the Grace of God, King of England and France, Defender of the Faith, Lord of Ireland and of the Church of England in Earth Supreme Head”.
5. Religious persecution as reason for colonization (James I – 1603; Pilgrim Fathers - 1620)
1620 is conventionally known as the starting year for massive immigrations to Northern America. Previously, Sir Walter Raleigh's Roanoke colony arrived in Virginia in 1587 (with 120 colonists, of whom only 17 women). That same year (1587), the first American-English baby was born: her name was Virginia Dare, and she was actually named after the region where the settlement had taken place.
The religious reasons were the main cause for trying to leave England in search of a new life, far away from home:
- Puritan religious beliefs were considered intolerable under James I (a Catholic), who came to the throne of England after the death of Elizabeth I, in 1603
- Marriage was considered a civil affair, not a religious sacrament (to be handled by the state). Marriage was a “contract”, mutually agreed by man and woman, for procreation and avoidance of adultery.
- icons and religious symbols were rejected
- rejection of (Catholic) Church hierarchy
- no celebration for Christmas and Easter (celebrations “invented by man to remember Jesus”); no work on Sundays
The period which started with the symbolic year 1620 and ended with the fight for independence of the 1760s is commonly known as the “Colonial era”. Little by little, the colonists’ settlements grouped into the 13 British colonies which later formed the United States.
They had many things in common: the language (English, although Dutch could still be heard in certain parts of the British-held territory – for instance on the Island of Manhattan), various economic interests (e.g. the East India Company, the first private chartered company whose overseas rights were granted by the British Crown, set up a branch in Boston), the British Monarchy tradition and the acknowledged psychological and social force of a strong nation.
6. The concept of “revolution”
The modern concept of “revolution” seems to have its roots in the so-called “Glorious Revolution” of 1688, during the period when England was ruled by the Stuart family.
The 17th century frictions between the totalitarian kings and the Parliament reached their peak during the Civil War which saw Oliver Cromwell assume the power in the state after beheading king Charles I Stuart in 1649. But Cromwell’s new state only lasted until 1658 when, upon his death, the Parliament decided to invite Charles II to restore the monarchy and become king. From a historical point of view, this was the so-called Restoration.
Unfortunately, after having stayed in exile in France all through the period of Cromwell’s rule, Charles II had also learned the authoritarian ruling methods of Louis XIV (the French king who once said: “L’état c’est moi!”), that he was now ready to apply in England. This led to an even stronger discontent between the new king and the Parliament. Here are some of the issues separating the two powers of the state:
- the King is above the law (Charles II) – vs. the King must abide by the law (Parliament);
- the King favoured Catholicism (under French influence), while the Parliament wished to continue the Protestant tradition
- the King saw France as an ally, while the Parliament saw it as the fiercest enemy
- the King wanted to have complete authority over tax collection and personal expenditures, while the Parliament considered that it should have the final decision in this matter
- the King ignored the judicial system and wanted to be the only one to decide punishments, while the Parliament considered that any impeachment should be made according to the law
Upon Charles’ death, his brother James II ascended to the throne, in spite of the Parliament’s protests, which were mainly religious in nature (he was also a Catholic). When the frictions between the King and the Parliament reached a new climax, members of the Parliament contacted James’s daughter Mary Stuart and her husband, William of Orange (the Dutch prince), proposing them to seize the throne. Eventually James II abdicated in 1689 and William of Orange and his wife started a co-reign on the throne of England.
It was the only time in the history of England when this happened. Usually, the wife or husband of the monarch is called a “consort” (“Prince consort” or “Queen consort”).
Legal consequence: in 1689, the Parliament passed the English Bill of Rights, the Toleration Act, and the Mutiny Act that collectively committed the monarchs to respect Parliament and Parliament's laws.
Financial consequence: the constitutional credibility of the English Parliament determined a renewed trust in the English currency. “The Glorious Revolution unleashed a revolution in public finance. The most prominent element was the introduction of long-run borrowing by the government, because such borrowing absolutely relied on the government's fiscal credibility.”
“Credible government debt formed the basis of the Bank of England in 1694 and the core of the London stock market. The combination of these changes has been called the Financial Revolution and was essential for Britain's emergence as a Great Power in the eighteenth century.”
7. The institution of the “Prime Minister” and his “cabinet”
The house of the Hanoverians included four kings by the name of George, and this is why this period is also known as “Georgian Britain”. It started in 1714 (when George I became a king) and ended in 1820 (when George III died). However, the Hanoverian ruling family produced two more monarchs: William IV and Victoria.
The Georgian period is remembered due to a series of facts that marked the cultural and historical development of Britain – as a country and as an empire:
a. GEORGE I (1714 - 1727) did not speak English so he could not rule properly, therefore he appointed trusted politicians to be responsible for all governing activities. These were the first “Prime Ministers” that Britain had and they grouped around them a number of politicians – the future “Cabinet” – to take care of various parts of the governing effort.
b. Due to irresponsible financial manoeuvring (the national debt in his time reached 31 million pounds) the stock market crashed and the government as well as thousands of investors were declared bankrupt. From 1720s on the Bank of England became officially responsible for the finances of the country and British economy became “the best managed” in Europe over the next centuries.
c. During the reign of GEORGE II (1727 – 1760) Prince Charles Stuart marched into England in an attempt to free Scotland (which had become part of Britain in 1707) and take the crown. He was eventually defeated but became a major Scottish hero, along with Mary Stuart.
d. Social stability was at a high level. The system was focused on protecting the landlords’ interests while the exercise of influence worked in the relationships with the other social layers.
e. The British Museum was founded in 1753, first based on the collections of Sir Hans Sloane and Sir Robert Cotton, to which the earls of Oxford added their personal library. The Royal Library, founded by Henry VII also became a part of the British Museum.
f. A “Seven Years War” with France began during his reign (1755) and ended during the reign of George III (1763). The war resulted in new territories being added to the British Empire (in Canada, Florida, Grenada, Senegal and East of the Mississippi River). The Indian sub-continent also became a territory exclusively administered by the British (France had also had interests there). The East India Company became the most important trade company in the area, bringing all kinds of products to Britain.
g. GEORGE III (1760 – 1820) was insane and often proved unfit to rule. During his reign the American colonies broke with the British rule and became independent after the Revolution (1775-1783).
h. Also during his reign Ireland was officially unified with Great Britain (1801), which turned Great Britain into the United Kingdom.
i. Horatio Nelson became a national hero after the naval victories over Napoleon (the Battle of the Nile – 1798 and Trafalgar – 1805). Nelson actually died at Trafalgar. Another national hero was Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington who managed to defeat Napoleon at Waterloo (near Brussels) in 1815.
j. The industrial development led to protests from blue-collar workers, but the new steam-driven machines nevertheless were adopted in all industrial areas due to their efficiency and working speed. This was in fact the period of the EARLY INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION, and one of the causes for its impact was the approval of laws (Acts) by which landowners introduced improved farming methods and machines, forcing many of the farm workers to move to town, where they became the work force that implemented the Industrial Revolution.
k. In 1810 George III was officially proclaimed “unfit to rule” and his son George was appointed Regent (until 1820). He was an extravagant, heavy drinker, women-lover, impulsive ruler but his passion for expensive, finely decorated architecture resulted in remarkable buildings such as the Brighton Pavilion (on the Channel coast). He finally became king in 1820 and ruled until 1830 as GEORGE IV.
l. During his rule the first regular police force was established in London.
m. The Catholic Emancipation Bill of 1829 gave Catholics the right to vote, become members of Parliament and hold public office. The electoral reform was also on its way.
Upon the death of George IV in 1830 his brother became king William IV as the next in line and in 1837 he was followed by Queen Victoria (1837 – 1901) – a time when the British Empire reached its peak.
8. Human rights – Charters of Freedom (USA)
See http://www.archives.gov/national-archives-experience/charters/declaration.html for a detailed presentation of the main documents
The fundamental Acts of the USA are the Declaration of Independence (although not a part of the legal system, it the most important symbol of liberty for all Americans), the Constitution (the supreme law) and the Bill of Rights – all of whom are known as the Charters of Freedom. In fact, the American legal system was originally derived from the system of English law, which was in force in the colonies at the time of the Revolution.
The specificity of US law is that, apart from federal laws (inspired from the Constitution, and which are in force in all 50 states) there is also a system of local laws, applicable in each state only. The 50 American states are considered “separate sovereigns”, which have their own constitutions and have the right to pass their own laws, as seen fit by local authorities.
Various attempts have been made, along the years, to unify these state laws, but with only few positive results. Two examples of uniform laws are the Model Penal Code (a project of the American Law Institute) and the Uniform Commercial Code.
The Declaration of Independence (4th July 1776) was voted “the most influential document in American history” (75.9% during a Government survey which took place in 2002).
The original, faded document (engrossed on parchment) is now exhibited in the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom, at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., along with the originals of the Constitution and of the Bill of Rights, in specially sealed encasements, meant to protect them from decay.
There are also a number of 25 official copies on paper known today – of the 200 initially engraved from a stone plate (20 owned by American institutions, 2 by British institutions and 3 by private owners).
The first section of the body of the Declaration gives evidence of the "long train of abuses and usurpations" heaped upon the colonists by King George III. The second section of the body states that the colonists had appealed in vain to their "British brethren" for a redress of their grievances.
The Declaration concludes that "these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved.”
The Constitution of the United States (1787) is the oldest Federal constitution in existence, and it was conceived by the delegates of 12 of the 13 original states. It is the major legal document of the US. It was ratified by all 13 states (including New York) until late 1788, but with promises of several amendments.
Reason for being written: after 11 years of independence, the new state was confronted with economic depression, social unrest and rivalries between different states. In early 1787, the US Congress asked all 13 states to revise the Articles of Confederation. Following a number of secret meetings (regarding some essential issues, such as: how much power to allow the central government, how many representatives in Congress to allow each state, and how these representatives should be elected - directly by the people or by the state legislators), the US Constitution was ready, and it was intended as an entirely new plan of Government: a central Government made of 3 branches (legislative, executive and judicial) which are thus organised as to balance each other.
The Bill of Rights (presented by President George Washington in 1789 and ratified by 9 of the 13 states by the end of 1791) included a number of 12 amendments, of the 17 initially proposed by the Congress. Ten of these were approved, and they were made known to all under the name of Bill of Rights.
The reason for further legal provisions was the fact that anti-federalists had constantly attacked the Constitution as being too vague; they also protested against the fact that it did not make any specific mention regarding the ways in which the state would be protected against tyranny. Civil rights, such as the freedom of speech, the freedom of the press, the freedom of assembly, or the right to a fair and speedy trial had not been included in the original text of the Constitution.
The American Revolution has a number of specific features in comparison with the revolutions which took place in Europe, starting with the end of the 18th century: it was positive in motivation and goals; it did not justify mass killing of the enemy according to ideological reasons (as did the French Revolution of 1789); it opened the way for a modern understanding of human relationships and of the laws governing them; it consecrated the role of a Constitution which should be observed by all; it started from the assumption that “all men are born equal”.
9. Industrial revolution
The beginnings of the industrial revolution are closely linked to Britain under the reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901).
It was a time of inventions, reforms and deep social changes. Specific laws were passed with the purpose of implementing political and social reform.
The success of the 1851 World Fair (the first world exhibition of manufactured goods) resulted in Victoria’s reign being called the “Victorian Age”. During her reign, Britain became the greatest colonial power in the world, and statistics estimate that one in four inhabitants of any part of the world was a British subject. Victoria herself was declared Empress of India – a title which remained linked to the British Crown until the emancipation of the Indian sub-continent, followed by the formation of newly-independent states India and Pakistan in the late 1920s.
In the same period, Britain also became the first urban industrial society in history. Urbanization in Britain meant that large numbers of people moved from rural to urban areas due to industrialization (by 1900 80% of the population lived in cities). This deep social change determined an increased importance of the bourgeoisie, at the expense of aristocratic landlords; thus, Britain completed its shift from a feudal system to a modern, industrialized society.
Great inventions paved the way for further modernization: 1825 – the first steam locomotive (made by George Stephenson, who called it a “rocket”). The development of faster transport means (railways) led to an increase of exchanges of goods and of individual consumption.
Britain was also the country which saw the beginnings of the Trade Unions (inspired from the mediaeval guilds) – which were legalized in 1871; by 1890 there were 1.5 M trade union members – a foundation for the modern Labour Party.
A major trend in Victorian Britain was the importance of learning under state guidance: after 1870 education became compulsory for all children.
10. Women’s rights (the Suffragette movement)
It took a long time until women’s working capacities were fully recognised and trusted. The trained English nurses of the Boer War (1899-1902) were those who called everyone’s attention to the fact that women were deprived of many well deserved rights – among which, the right to vote.
Although a formal military nursing service did not exist in the army prior to the latter half of the 19th century, recent extensive research suggests that nursing care was provided to the army during the reign of Elizabeth 1st and the English Civil War. During the 18th century military hospitals had Matrons and nurses working in them but the training and standard of care was not of a high standard.
At the same time, in the US, during the early nineteenth century, women participated in numerous efforts to improve women's status, defend their interests, and increase their rights. Educators, such as Emma Willard, Mary Lyon, and Catharine Beecher, promoted advanced training for women in female academies and seminaries. Thousands of women in the 1830s and 1840s joined moral reform societies, organized especially in protest of women being used for prostitution.
The first women's rights meeting, at Seneca Falls, New York, in 1848, capitalized on women's antislavery experience. Called by Mott and Stanton, who had met at an 1840 antislavery convention in London, and some Quaker friends, the convention attracted about three hundred women and men. One-third of the participants signed a "Declaration of Sentiments," modelled on the Declaration of Independence.
In 1919, the US Congress at last approved woman suffrage and in August 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment (women’s right to vote) was ratified by the states.
The word "suffragette" was first used to describe women campaigning for the right to vote in an article in a British newspaper in 1906.
At the time, only two-thirds of the male population could vote.
Those who could not vote included:
- men who did not own property or pay at least £10/year in rent- servants who lived with their employers- criminals- “lunatics” (individuals who were officially deemed crazy)
British women and men had been arguing for both universal and women’s suffrage since the 1860s. The movement for women’s votes accelerated when Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughters Christabel and Sylvia founded the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) in 1903 – a more radical organization than some of the earlier ones fighting for suffrage. Its slogan was "Deeds Not Words".
On 2 July 1928, a law was passed allowing all women over the age of 21 to vote. Many people said that the Act was passed as a reward for women’s efforts during the war rather than anything the suffragettes did.
 See Quinn’s article about the “Glorious Revolution” at http://eh.net/encyclopedia/article/quinn.revolution.1688
 Ibidem, page 5
 Neal, Larry. "How it All Began: the Monetary and Financial Architecture of Europe during the First Global Capital Markets, 1648-1815." Financial History Review 7 (2000): 117-40
 For more details about the US law, see Law of the United States, in Wikipedia, the free Encyclopaedia