Universal Suffrage for Men and Women

Charles Bradlaugh was a champion of universal suffrage for working class men and women.

The unenfranchised are at the present time politically at the mercy of their more favoured brethren, and this subjection of one class to another is most disastrous in its effects on both.

In 1884 Bradlaugh published

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No doubt the unique artisan culture of Northampton resulting in a good quantity of working class men meeting the requirement to hold property in order to vote lead Bradlaugh to chose Northampton as his constituency. It was a marriage of kindred spirits in a joint endeavour of liberty for all.

We have produced a reading of this pamphlet available below, please share.


Universal Suffrage was a struggle between classes following the removal of Universal Suffrage by Henry VI

… I deem it my duty to bring specially before the working classes, who are most interested in renewal of a movement for reform, certain views which appear to me of vital importance to them …


Bradlaugh’s work was to see fruition in 1918 with the Representation of the Peoples Act when over 5 million men and over 8 million women obtained the vote.

Holding, as I do that, the opinion that every sane human being unconvicted of crime should have the means of exercising, through the electoral suffrage, an influence on the management of the public affairs of the state in which he or she is resident….


The age of 21 for men and 30 for women being set so as to make the numbers of each sex equal following the slaughter of a million men and boys in WW1.

That men educated as are the English people should be controlled without the right to express an effective opinion as to the direction of such control, is a wrong demanding speedy recovery.


The Act celebrates its centenary in February 2018. It should be celebrated as the triumph of democracy in which Bradlaugh played a significant part.

A sequence of recordings by William Collins on his personal take on the history leading to the 1918 Representation of the People Act in the UK.