1884 Reform Act

1884 Reform Act


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The 1880 General Election was won by William Gladstone and the Liberal Party that had successfully obtained 352 seats with 54.7% of the vote. The party had gained from an increase in the number of working-class male voters. As Paul Foot has pointed out, this was not reflected in the newly formed government: "In the Cabinet of fourteen members, there were six earls (Selborne, Granville, Derby, Kimberley, Northbrook and Spencer), a marquis (Hartington), a baron (Carlingford), two baronets (Harcourt and Dilke) and only four commoners (Gladstone, Childers, Dodson and Joseph Chamberlain)." Only one working man, the trade union leader, Henry Broadhurst, joined the government as a junior minister for trade. (1)

Queen Victoria and Gladstone were in constant conflict during his premiership. She often wrote to him complaining about his progressive policies. When he became prime minister in 1880 she warned him about the appointment of Radicals such as Joseph Chamberlain, Charles Wentworth Dilke, Henry Fawcett, James Stuart, Thorold Rogers and Anthony Mundella, The Queen was also disappointed that Gladstone had not found a place for George Goschen, in his government, a man who she knew was strongly against parliamentary reform. (2)

Queen Victoria was especially opposed to parliamentary reform. In November, 1880, Queen Victoria she told him that he should be careful about making statements about future political policy: "The Queen is extremely anxious to point out to Mr. Gladstone the immense importance of the utmost caution on the part of all the Ministers but especially of himself, at the coming dinner in the City. There is such danger in every direction that a word too much might do irreparable mischief." (3) The following year she made a similar comment: "I see you are to attend a great banquet at Leeds. Let me express a hope that you will be very cautious not to say anything which could bind you to any particular measures." (4)

Philip Guedalla, the author of The Queen and Mr. Gladstone (1958), has pointed out: "The tragedy of Queen Victoria's relations with Mr. Gladstone was a tragedy of growth. Time and growth altered both of them... Such changes are inevitable, and they might both have aged together without uncomfortable consequences. But unhappily the processes of growth took them in opposite directions, and they grew away from one another. As the years went by, Gladstone moved steadily towards the Left in politics, while by a sad mischance his soverign inclined towards the Right. Worse still, Gladstone did not stop growing... Mr. Gladstone continued to grow visibly more Radical." (5)

William Gladstone, but not most of his cabinet, was committed to parliamentary reform. The 1867 Reform Act had granted the vote to working class males in the towns but not in the counties. Gladstone argued that people living in towns and in rural areas should have equal rights. Robert Cecil, 3rd Marquis of Salisbury, leader of the Conservative Party, opposed any increase in the number of people who could vote in parliamentary elections. Salisbury's critics claimed that he feared that this reform would reduce the power of the Tories in rural constituencies. (6)

John Eldon Gorst, the Conservative MP for Chatham, disagreed with Salisbury about all resistance to change. "Unfortunately for Conservatism, its leaders belong solely to one class; they are a clique composed of members of the aristocracy, land-owners, and adherents whose chief merit is subserviency. The party chiefs live in an atmosphere in which a sense of their own importance and of the importance of their class interests and privileges is exaggerated, and to to which the opinions of the common people can scarcely penetrate.... If the Tory party is to continue to exist as a power in the State, it must become a popular party... The days are past when an exclusive class, however great its ability, wealth, and energy, can command a majority in the electorate." (7)

In 1884 William Gladstone introduced his proposals that would give working class males the same voting rights as those living in the boroughs. The bill faced serious opposition in the House of Commons. The Tory MP, William Ansell Day, argued: "The men who demand it are not the working classes... It is the men who hope to use the masses who urge that the suffrage should be conferred upon a numerous and ignorant class." (8)

Gladstone told the House of Commons "that every Reform Bill had improved the House as a Representative Assembly". When opponents of the proposed bill cried "No, no !" Gladstone "insisted that whatever might be the effect on the House from some points of view, it was past doubt that the two Reform Acts had made the House far more adequate to express the wants and wishes of the nation as a whole". He added that when the House of Lords had blocked the Liberal's 1866 Reform Bill the following year "the Conservatives found it absolutely necessary to deal with the question, and so it would be again". (9)

Left-wing members of the Liberal Party, such as James Stuart, urged Gladstone to give the vote to women. Stuart wrote to Gladstone's daughter, Mary Gladstone Drew: "To make women more independent of men is, I am convinced, one of the great fundamental means of bringing about justice, morality, and happiness both for married and unmarried men and women. If all Parliament were like the three men you mention, would there be no need for women's votes? Yes, I think there would. There is only one perfectly just, perfectly understanding Being - and that is God.... No man is all-wise enough to select rightly - it is the people's voice thrust upon us, not elicited by us, that guides us rightly." (10)

A total of 79 Liberal MPs asked Gladstone to recognize the claim of women's householders to the vote. Gladstone replied that if votes for women was included Parliament would reject the proposed bill: "The question with what subjects... we can afford to deal in and by the Franchise Bill is a question in regard to which the undivided responsibility rests with the Government, and cannot be devolved by them upon any section, however respected , of the House of Commons. They have introduced into the Bill as much as, in their opinion, it can safely carry." (11)

Queen Victoria strongly expressed herself to Gladstone against this "mad folly of Women's Rights." (12) Gladstone authorized his Chief Whip to tell Liberal MPs that if the votes-for-women amendment were carried the bill would be dropped and the government would resign. He explained that "I am myself not strongly opposed to every form and degree of the proposal, but I think that if put into the Bill it would give the House of Lords a case for postponing it and I know not how to incur such a risk." (13)

George Goschen had been one of the leading Liberal opponents to the 1867 Reform Act. However, he supported the 1884 Reform Act: "The argument against the enfranchisement of the working class was this - and no doubt it is a very strong argument - the power they would have in any election if they combined together on questions of class interest. We are bound not to put that risk out of sight. Well, at the last election, I carefully watched the various contests that were taking place and I am bound to admit that I saw no tendency on the part of the working classes to combine on any special question where their pecuniary interests were concerned. On the contrary, they seemed to me to take a genuine political interest in public questions ... The working classes have given proofs that they are deeply desirous to do what is right." (14)

The bill was passed by the Commons on 26th June, with the opposition did not divide the House. The Conservatives were hesitant about recording themselves in direct hostility to franchise enlargement. However, Gladstone knew he would have more trouble with the House of Lords. Gladstone wrote to twelve of the leading bishops and asked for their support in passing this legislation. Ten of the twelve agreed to do this. However, when the vote was taken the Lords rejected the bill by 205 votes to 146.

Queen Victoria thought that the Lords had every right to reject the bill and she told Gladstone that they represented "the true feeling of the country" better than the House of Commons. Gladstone told his private secretary, Edward Walter Hamilton, that if the Queen had her way she would abolish the Commons. Over the next two months the Queen wrote sixteen letters to Gladstone complaining about speeches made by left-wing Liberal MPs. (15)

The London Trades Council quickly organized a mass demonstration in Hyde Park. On 21st July, an estimated 30,000 people marched through the city to merge with at least that many already assembled in the park. Thorold Rogers, compared the House of Lords to "Sodom and Gomorrah" and Joseph Chamberlain told the crowd: "We will never, never, never be the only race in the civilized world subservient to the insolent pretensions of a hereditary caste". (16)

Queen Victoria was especially angry about the speech made by Chamberlain, who was President of the Board of Trade in Gladstone's government. She sent letters to Gladstone complaining about Chamberlain on 6th, 8th and 10th August, 1884. (17) Edward Walter Hamilton, Gladstone's private secretary replied to the Queen explaining that the Prime Minister "has neither the time nor the eyesight to make himself acquainted by careful perusal with all the speeches of his colleagues." (18)

In August 1884, William Gladstone sent a long and threatening memorandum to the Queen: "The House of Lords has for a long period been the habitual and vigilant enemy of every Liberal Government... It cannot be supposed that to any Liberal this is a satisfactory subject of contemplation. Nevertheless some Liberals, of whom I am one, would rather choose to bear all this for the future as it has been borne in the past, than raise the question of an organic reform of the House of Lords... I wish (an hereditary House of Lords) to continue, for the avoidance of greater evils... Further; organic change of this kind in the House of Lords may strip and lay bare, and in laying bare may weaken, the foundations even of the Throne." (19)

Other politicians began putting pressure on Victoria and the House of Lords. One of Gladstone's MPs advised him to "Mend them or end them." However, Gladstone liked "the hereditary principle, notwithstanding its defects, to be maintained, for I think it in certain respects an element of good, a barrier against mischief". Gladstone was also secretly opposed to a mass creation of peers to give it a Liberal majority. However, these threats did result in conservative leaders being willing to negotiate over this issue. Hamilton wrote in his diary that "the atmosphere is full of compromise". (20)

Other moderate Liberal MPs feared that if the 1884 Reform Act was not passed Britain was in danger of a violent revolution. Samuel Smith feared the development of socialist parties such as the Social Democratic Party in Germany: "In the country, the agitation has reached a point which might be described as alarming. I have no desire to see the agitation assume a revolutionary character which it would certainly assume if it continued much longer.... I am afraid that there would emerge from out of the strife a new party like the social democrats of Germany and that the guidance of parties would pass from the hands of wise statesmen into that of extreme and violent men". (21)

John Morley was one of the MPs who led the fight against the House of Lords. The Spectator reported "He (John Morley) was himself, be said, convinced that compromise was the life of politics; but the Franchise Bill was a compromise, and if the Lords threw it out again, that would mean that the minority were to govern... The English people were a patient and a Conservative people, but they would not endure a stoppage of legislation by a House which had long been as injurious in practice as indefensible in theory. If the struggle once began, it was inevitable that the days of privilege should be numbered." (22)

Eventually, Gladstone reached an agreement with the House of Lords. This time the Conservative members agreed to pass Gladstone's proposals in return for the promise that it would be followed by a Redistribution Bill. Gladstone accepted their terms and the 1884 Reform Act was allowed to become law. This measure gave the counties the same franchise as the boroughs - adult male householders and £10 lodgers - and added about six million to the total number who could vote in parliamentary elections. (23)

However, this legislation meant that all women and 40% of adult men were still without the vote. According to Lisa Tickner: "The Act allowed seven franchise qualifications, of which the most important was that of being a male householder with twelve months' continuous residence at one address... About seven million men were enfranchised under this heading, and a further million by virtue of one of the other six types of qualification. This eight million - weighted towards the middle classes but with a substantial proportion of working-class voters - represented about 60 per cent of adult males. But of the remainder only a third were excluded from the register of legal provision; the others were left off because of the complexity of the registration system or because they were temporarily unable to fulfil the residency qualifications... Of greater concern to Liberal and Labour reformers... was the issue of plural voting (half a million men had two or more votes) and the question of constituency boundaries." (24)

If the Tory party is to continue to exist as a power in the State, it must become a popular party. A mere coalition with the Whig aristocracy might delay, but could not avert its downfall. The days are past when an exclusive class, however great its ability, wealth, and energy, can command a majority in the electorate. The liberties and interests of the people at large are the only things which it is now possible to conserve: the rights of property, the Established Church, the House of Lords, and the Crown itself must be defended on the ground that they are institutions necessary or useful to the preservation of civil and religious liberty and securities for personal freedom, and can be maintained only so far as the people take this view of their subsistence. Unfortunately for Conservatism, its leaders belong solely to one class; they are a clique composed of members of the aristocracy, land-owners, and adherents whose chief merit is subserviency. The party chiefs live in an atmosphere in which a sense of their own importance and of the importance of their class interests and privileges is exaggerated, and to which the opinions of the common people can scarcely penetrate. They are surrounded by sycophants who continually offer up the incense of personal flattery under the pretext of conveying political information. They half fear and half despise the common people, whom they see only through this deceptive medium; they regard them more as dangerous allies to be coaxed and cajoled than as comrades fighting for a common cause.

The argument against the enfranchisement of the working class was this - and no doubt it is a very strong argument - the power they would have in any election if they combined together on questions of class interest. The working classes have given proofs that they are deeply desirous to do what is right.

Mr. Gladstone contended that every Reform Bill had improved the House as a Representative Assembly, on which cries of "No, no !" were heard from the Conservative benches, and received with laughter by the House, whereupon Mr. Gladstone insisted that whatever might be the effect on the House from some points of view, it was past doubt that the two Reform Acts had made the House far more adequate to express the wants and wishes of the nation as a whole. He denied that in 1866 there was any more excitement amongst the unenfranchised classes than there now is; but the Bill of 1866 was no sooner defeated, than the Conservatives found it absolutely necessary to deal with the question, and so it would be again.

The House of Lords has for a long period been the habitual and vigilant enemy of every Liberal Government... Nevertheless some Liberals, of whom I am one, would rather choose to bear all this for the future as it has been borne in the past, than raise the question of an organic reform of the House of Lords. The interest of the party seems to be in favour of such an alteration: but it should, in my judgement, give way to a higher interest, which is national and imperial: the interest of preserving the hereditary power as it is, if only it will be content to act in such a manner as will render the preservation endurable.

I do not speak of this question as one in which I can have a personal interest or share. Age, and political aversion, alike forbid it. Nevertheless, if the Lords continue to reject the Franchise Bill, it will come.

I wish (an hereditary House of Lords) to continue, for the avoidance of greater evils. These evils are not only long and acrimonious controversy, difficulty in devising any satisfactory mode of reform, and delay in the general business of the country, but other and more permanent mischiefs. I desire the hereditary principle, notwithstanding its defects, to be maintained, for I think it in certain respects an element of good, a barrier against mischief. But it is not strong enough for direct conflict with the representative power, and will only come out of the conflict sorely bruised and maimed. Further; organic change of this kind in the House of Lords may strip and lay bare, and in laying bare may weaken, the foundations even of the Throne.

the obstructiveness of the Lords for the past fifty years the subject of his speech. He was himself, be said, convinced that compromise was the life of politics ; but the Franchise Bill was a compromise, and if the Lords threw it out again, that would mean that the minority were to govern, and that a Liberal Government must pass a Tory Reform Bill. The demand for Redistribution was a demand that Tory Lords should dictate to the Commons the method of Reform. He held that the offer to pass the Franchise Bill if a Redistribution Bill were introduced would,.if accepted, be "a betrayal and a humiliation," and that the proposal to send up the Bill again and again was useless under the Septennial Act. He has, therefore, occasionally thought that Mr. Gladstone, if thus driven, might propose a complete Re- form Bill,—one including the Franchise, Redistribution, and "the clipping of the pinions of the House of Lords." The English people were a patient and a Conservative people, but they would not endure a stoppage of legislation by a House which had long been as injurious in practice as indefensible in theory. If the struggle once began, it was inevitable that the days of privilege should be numbered.

He (John Morley) was himself, be said, convinced that compromise was the life of politics; but the Franchise Bill was a compromise, and if the Lords threw it out again, that would mean that the minority were to govern, and that a Liberal Government must pass a Tory Reform Bill. Gladstone, if thus driven, might propose a complete Reform Bill, one including the Franchise, Redistribution, and "the clipping of the pinions of the House of Lords." The English people were a patient and a Conservative people, but they would not endure a stoppage of legislation by a House which had long been as injurious in practice as indefensible in theory. If the struggle once began, it was inevitable that the days of privilege should be numbered.

On 21 July, an estimated 30,000 people marched through the city to merge with at least that many already assembled in the park... "Down with the Lords - Give us the Bill" was the universal slogan. The Radical MP for Southwark, Professor Thorold Rogers, likened the House of Lords to "Sodom and Gomorrah and the abominations of the Egyptian temple". Joseph Chamberlain told the biggest of the seven crowds: "We will never, never, never be the only race in the civilized world subservient to the insolent pretensions of a hereditary caste." His speech produced a furious response from Her Majesty the Queen. Queen Victoria was opposed to the extension of the franchise - no one, after all, had elected her - but she was much more concerned that the rising temperature of popular fury would sweep away her beloved House of Lords. In August, Chamberlain held a series of enormous meetings in Birmingham at which he denounced the Lords with renewed fervour. The Queen protested again - and again: on 6, 8 and 10 August. In the pathetic belief that as many of her people supported the Lords as opposed them, she encouraged the Tory leaders to whip up counter-demonstrations in favour of the Lords and against the extension of the suffrage. Lord Randolph Churchill obliged at once and urged Midlands Tories to organize a huge ticket-only Queen, Country and Lords meeting at Aston Park for 13 October. Birmingham Radicals organized a mass purchase of tickets. When the meeting opened, it was immediately clear that the Tories were in a minority. A near-riot ensued. Seats were ripped up and hurled at the platform. "At last - a proper distribution of seats!" was the triumphant shout of the demonstrators.

When Parliament reconvened, on 6 November, Gladstone brought a new, very similar franchise Bill to the Commons once again, and the Tories moved the same amendment. The speeches bore witness to the mood of the country. Thorold Rogers persisted in his contemptuous assault on the House of Lords. For this blatant defiance of the rules of the House, Rogers was not even reprimanded.

In the country, the agitation has reached a point which might be described as alarming. I am afraid that there would emerge from out of the strife a new party like the social democrats of Germany and that the guidance of parties would pass from the hands of wise statesmen into that of extreme and violent men.

Child Labour Simulation (Teacher Notes)

1832 Reform Act and the House of Lords (Answer Commentary)

The Chartists (Answer Commentary)

Women and the Chartist Movement (Answer Commentary)

Benjamin Disraeli and the 1867 Reform Act (Answer Commentary)

William Gladstone and the 1884 Reform Act (Answer Commentary)

Richard Arkwright and the Factory System (Answer Commentary)

Robert Owen and New Lanark (Answer Commentary)

James Watt and Steam Power (Answer Commentary)

Road Transport and the Industrial Revolution (Answer Commentary)

Canal Mania (Answer Commentary)

Early Development of the Railways (Answer Commentary)

The Domestic System (Answer Commentary)

The Luddites: 1775-1825 (Answer Commentary)

The Plight of the Handloom Weavers (Answer Commentary)

Health Problems in Industrial Towns (Answer Commentary)

Public Health Reform in the 19th century (Answer Commentary)

(1) Paul Foot, The Vote (2005) page 162

(2) Philip Guedalla, The Queen and Mr. Gladstone (1958) page 135

(3) Queen Victoria, letter to William Ewart Gladstone (7th November, 1880)

(4) Queen Victoria, letter to William Ewart Gladstone (October, 1881)

(5) Philip Guedalla, The Queen and Mr. Gladstone (1958) pages 175-176

(6) Robert Pearce and Roger Stearn, Government and Reform: 1815-1918 (1994) page 68

(7) John Eldon Gorst, The Fortnightly Review (August, 1882)

(8) William Ansell Day, The Conservative Party and the County Franchise (1883) page 5

(9) The Spectator (12th April, 1884)

(10) James Stuart, letter to Mary Gladstone Drew (March, 1884)

(11) Roger Fulford, Votes for Women (1957) page 92

(12) Sylvia Pankhurst, The History of the Women's Suffrage Movement (1931) page 70

(13) Roy Jenkins, Gladstone (1995) page 492

(14) George Goschen, speech in the House of Commons (3rd March, 1884)

(15) Roy Jenkins, Gladstone (1995) page 493

(16) Joseph Chamberlain, speech in Hyde Park (21st July, 1884)

(17) Paul Foot, The Vote (2005) page 166

(18) Edward Walter Hamilton, letter to Queen Victoria (July, 1884)

(19) William Ewart Gladstone, memorandum on the House of Lords sent to Queen Victoria (August, 1884)

(20) Edward Walter Hamilton, diary entry (30th October, 1884)

(21) Samuel Smith, speech in the House of Commons (6th November, 1884)

(22) The Spectator (13th September, 1884)

(23) Annette Mayer, The Growth of Democracy in Britain (1999) page 57

(24) Lisa Tickner, The Spectacle of Women: Imagery of the Suffrage Campaign (1988) page 5


The Berlin West Africa Conference of 1884-1885 has assumed a powerful symbolic presence in international legal accounts of the 19th century, but for historians of the era its importance has often been doubted. This article seeks to re-interpret the place of the Berlin General Act in late 19th-century history, suggesting that the divergence of views has arisen largely as a consequence of an inattentiveness to the place of systemic logics in legal regimes of this kind.

The Berlin West Africa Conference of 1884-1885 has assumed a canonical place in historical accounts of late 19th-century imperialism 1 and this is no less true of the accounts provided by legal scholars seeking to trace the colonial origins of contemporary international law. 2 The overt purpose of the Conference was to ‘manage’ the ongoing process of colonisation in Africa (the ‘Scramble’ as it was dubbed by a Times columnist) so as to avoid the outbreak of armed conflict between rival colonial powers. Its outcome was the conclusion of a General Act 3 ratified by all major colonial powers including the US. 4 Among other things, the General Act set out the conditions under which territory might be acquired on the coast of Africa it internationalised two rivers (the Congo and the Niger) it orchestrated a new campaign to abolish the overland trade in slaves and it declared as ‘neutral’ a vast swathe of Central Africa delimited as the ‘conventional basin of the Congo’. A side event was the recognition given to King Leopold’s fledgling Congo Free State that had somewhat mysteriously emerged out of the scientific and philanthropic activities of the Association internationale du Congo . 5

If for lawyers and historians the facts of the Conference are taken as a common starting point, this has not prevented widely divergent interpretations of its significance from emerging. On one side, one may find an array of international lawyers, from John Westlake 6 in the 19th century to Tony Anghie 7 in the 21 st century, affirming the importance of the Conference and its General Act for having created a legal and political framework for the subsequent partition of Africa. 8 For Anghie, Berlin ‘transformed Africa into a conceptual terra nullius ’, silencing native resistance through the subordination of their claims to sovereignty, and providing, in the process, an effective ideology of colonial rule. It was a conference, he argues, ‘which determined in important ways the future of the continent and which continues to have a profound influence on the politics of contemporary Africa’. 9

On the other side, however, one finds more than a few historians who are largely dismissive of the legal significance of the Conference. Sybil Crowe, for example, in one of the early histories of the Conference published in 1943, suggested that the importance of the Conference as a landmark in international law had been grossly exaggerated. Indeed, if anything, it was a failure:

Free trade was to be established in the basin and mouths of the Congo there was to be free navigation of the Congo and the Niger. Actually highly monopolistic systems of trade were set up in both those regions. The centre of Africa was to be internationalised. It became Belgian. Lofty ideals and philanthropic intentions were loudly enunciated by delegates of every country … [and yet] the basin of the Congo … became subsequently, as everyone knows, the scene of some of the worst brutalities in colonial history.

It was originally stipulated that the conventional Basin of the Congo … should be neutralised in time of war. Actually it was found necessary to make neutrality optional. Only the Congo Free State opted for neutrality, and this neutrality was violated by Germany in 1914.

Last but not least, and this is the feature of international law most commonly associated with it, the conference made an attempt to regulate future acquisitions of colonial territory on a legal basis. But here again, its resolutions, when closely scrutinised, are found to be as empty as Pandora’s box. In the first place the rules laid down concerning effective occupation, applied only to the coasts of West Africa, which had already nearly all been seized, and which were finally partitioned during the next few years secondly, even within this limited sphere the guarantees given by the powers amounted to little more than a simple promise to notify the acquisition of any given piece of territory, after it had been acquired, surely on every ground a most inadequate piece of legislation. 10

Pakenham echoes Crowe’s doubts:

There were thirty-eight clauses to the General Act, all as hollow as the pillars in the great saloon. In the years ahead people would come to believe that this Act had had a decisive effect. It was Berlin that precipitated the Scramble. It was Berlin that set the rules of the game. It was Berlin that carved up Africa. So the myths would run.

It was really the other way round. The Scramble had precipitated Berlin. The race to grab a slice of the African cake had started long before the first day of the conference. And none of the thirty-eight clauses of the General Act had any teeth. It had set no rules for dividing, let alone eating, the cake. 11

One may wonder how to reconcile these competing accounts of the Conference: for Crowe it was all about philanthropy, the internationalisation of territory and free trade for Anghie about colonisation, exploitation and the subordination of the natives. For Crowe, its legal and political import was negligible for Anghie, it was significant. And in a sense one may be prompted to think that these differing interpretations force us into a choice between these historical and legal evaluations: was it a success or a failure? Was it pro- or anti-colonial, 12 progressive or regressive? 13 Did it facilitate or forestall partition? 14

There is, of course, the possibility that behind all these choices is simply a difference in interpretive standpoint: the historian’s quest for the identification of contingent causal patterns 15 standing in contrast to the lawyer’s concern for timeless principle. 16 The way in which the record is read, in other words, may speak only of differences that stand between the historian and the lawyer as to their respective conceptions of the ‘legal’ and the ‘temporal’. It might be possible, thus, to ascribe to Crowe a naïve belief in a semi-mechanistic account of law that understands its operations solely in terms of the metaphorical equivalent of switching a light ‘on’ or ‘off’: one either has conformity to the rule or its absence. It might also be possible to ascribe to Anghie an understanding of the General Act that is concerned primarily with its transmissible meaning rather than with the concrete modalities of cause and explanation. Yet such differences, I suspect, are more a matter of emphasis than of method. In any case, my concern is not to accentuate these—nor to posit a decisive delineation between the interpretive standpoints in question—but rather offer a reading of the General Act that accounts, in some ways, for both.

My contention, in brief, is that the choice between reading the General Act as a success or a failure, or as a colonial or anti-colonial tract is largely a false one in that it fails to attend to the relationship between the apparent aspirations embodied in the text and the modalities for their realisation. Berlin was, I suggest, rather like Foucault’s famous carceral system, 17 an institution whose effect may be traced through the apparent confounding of its own expectations. It could be viewed, in that sense, as both anti- and pro-colonial, as an instrument that fostered partition while apparently opposing it. 18 The key, however, to these incompatible, or perverse conjunctions as I will argue, is the presence of a systemic logic associated with the putative implementation of the envisaged regime of free trade in central Africa. Colonial rule, to put it bluntly, arrived as a consequence of the internationalisation of the territory whose overt purpose was to prevent colonisation taking place. 19


1884 Reform Act - History

George Plunkitt, a local leader of New York City's Democratic Party, defended the spoils system. "You can't keep an organization together without patronage," he declared. "Men ain't in politics for nothin'. They want to get somethin' out of it."

But in one of the most significant political reforms of the late 19th century, Congress adopted the Pendleton Act, creating a federal civil service system, partly eliminating political patronage.

Andrew Jackson introduced the spoils system to the federal government. The practice, epitomized by the saying "to the victory belong the spoils," involved placing party supporters into government positions. An incoming president would dismiss thousands of government workers and replace them with members of his own party. Scandals under the Grant administration generated a mounting demand for reform.

Ironically, the president who led the successful campaign for civil service, Chester Arthur, a Republican, was linked to a party faction from New York that was known for its abuse of the spoils of office. In fact, in 1878, Arthur had been fired from his post at New York Federal Custom's Collection for giving away too many patronage jobs.

In 1880, Arthur had been elected vice president on a ticket headed by James A. Garfield. Garfield's assassination in 1881 by a mentally disturbed man, Charles J. Guiteau, who thought he deserved appointment to a government job, led to a public outcry for reform.

As president, Arthur became an ardent reformer. He insisted that high ranking members of his own party be prosecuted for their part in a Post Office scandal. He vetoed a law to improve rivers and harbors. In 1883, he helped push through the Pendleton Act. Failing to please either machine politicians or reformers, Arthur was the last incumbent president to be denied renomination for a second term by his own party.

The Pendleton Act stipulated that government jobs should be awarded on the basis of merit. It provided for selection of government employees through competitive examinations. It also made it unlawful to fire or demote covered employees for political reasons or to require them to give political service or payment, and it set up a Civil Service Commission to enforce the law.

When the Pendleton Act went into effect, only 10 percent of the government's 132,000 civilian employees were placed under civil service. The rest remained at the disposal of the party power, which could distribute for patronage, payoffs, or purchase. Today, more than 90 percent of the 2.7 million federal civilian employees are covered by merit systems.

In 1884, New York became the first state to adopt a civil service system for state workers. Massachusetts became the second state when it started a merit system in 1885.


1884 Reform Act - History

The presidential campaign of 1884 was one of the most memorable in American history. The Republican nominee, James G. Blaine of Maine, was nicknamed the "plumed knight," but disgruntled Republican reformers regarded him as a symbol of corruption. He "wallowed in spoils like a rhinoceros in an African pool."

These liberal Republicans indicated to Democratic leaders that they would bolt their own party and support a Democrat, provided he was a decent and honorable man. Grover Cleveland seemed to meet these qualifications. He had started his career as sheriff of Erie County where he personally hanged two murderers to spare the sensitivities of his subordinates. He had been known as the "veto" Mayor of Buffalo for rejecting political graft, and as governor he repudiated Tammany Hall.

Republicans waved the "bloody flag," harshly attacking Cleveland for avoiding service during the Civil War. He had hired a substitute to take his place.

Democrats, in turn, claimed that Blaine had sold his influence in Congress to business interests. They published letters from a Boston bookkeeper which indicated that Blaine had personally benefited from helping a railroad keep a land grant. Democrats chanted: "Blaine! Blaine! James G. Blaine! The Continental Liar from the State of Maine!"

Then a Buffalo newspaper dealt Cleveland a devastating blow. Under the headline, "A Terrible Tale," the newspaper revealed that the Democratic candidate had a child out of wedlock. Even worse, Republicans charged, Cleveland had placed the child in an orphanage and the mother in an insane asylum, Republicans wore white ribbons and campaigned under the phrase "home protection."

But these moralistic attacks failed to ignite much public indignation against Cleveland. Republicans chanted, "Ma, ma, where's my pa?" Democrats replied: "Gone to the White House, ha, ha, ha."

Just six days before the election, a group of Protestant clergy were meeting in New York. The clergymen endorsed Cleveland with words that would alter the course of the election:

We are Republicans and don't propose to leave our party and identify ourselves with the party whose antecedents are Rum, Romanism and Rebellion.

The following Sunday, as Irish Americans filed out of Catholic Churches, they were handed bills containing the phrase "Rum, Romanism and Rebellion," attributed to Blaine himself. Blaine's denials were ineffective and he lost New York by 1,149 votes. In the election, white Southerners, Irish Americans, and German American voters turned out in record numbers.

In office, Cleveland pleased conservatives by advocating sound money and reduction of inflation, curbing party patronage, and vetoing government pensions. But he alienated business and labor interests by proposing a lower tariff and was defeated by Republican Benjamin Harrison in 1888, winning the popular vote but losing the electoral vote.

In 1892, Cleveland won reelection thanks in part to a third party movement--the Populists--that siphoned off some of the strength of the Republican Party, and by a vigorous campaign against the extravagance of the Republican "Billion Dollar Congress."

But his second term was ruined by the economic depression of the mid-1890s, the worst economic crisis that the country had ever seen. Insisting on sound money, he sought to keep the country on the gold standard and helped convince Congress to enact an income tax (which was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court). In 1896, Cleveland's policies were repudiated by his own party.


U.S. Department of the Treasury

As President of the State Bank of Indiana, Hugh McCulloch first came to Washington to protest Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase's National Banking System. Ironically, Chase asked McCulloch to launch the System in 1863 as the first Comptroller of Currency. After some hesitation McCulloch accepted, and the National Banking System was largely successful due to his influence with existing state banks. McCulloch became President Lincoln's Secretary of the Treasury in 1865 and continued in office under President Andrew Johnson.

Sec. Hugh McCulloch
George P.A. Healy
Oil on canvas
1880
62 x 53 x 4"
P.1881.2

Immediately confronted with inflation caused by the Government's wartime issue of greenbacks, he recommended their retirement and a return to the gold standard. However, this would have reduced the supply of currency and was unpopular during the period of postwar reconstruction and westward expansion. Adopted in 1866, the gold standard was abandoned two years later and the battle over its revival raged for the next fifty years . During his tenure, McCulloch maintained a policy of reducing the federal war debt and the careful reintroduction of federal taxation in the South. McCulloch was appointed Secretary a second time in 1884 by President Chester Arthur. During his six months in office at that time, he continued his fight for currency backed by gold, warning that the coinage of silver used then as backing for currency, should be halted.


The History of the Occupational Health and Safety Act

Ontario Occupational Health & Safety Act (OH&S Act) was originally modeled after the British Factory Act from the 17th century. Ontario introduced the Factory Act of 1884 which was the first OH&S Act. This Act was important in that it suggested prohibitions on the work activities of children and women and suggested work hour restrictions for all employees. However, it was extremely vague in definition and totally unenforceable. It was a beginning, but in reality, the Factory Act of 1884 did little to protect the worker. Employers favoured the Act as it did not clearly intend to limit production, yet made production safer or so it seemed. Eighty long years passed by with this little safe guard in place.

In 1960, a disastrous accident that caused the deaths of five workers changed the face of safety regulations forever. A new definition – SAFETY was introduced to the Factory Act of 1884 and the name changed to the Industrial Safety Act of 1964.

Freedom from injury to the body or freedom from damage to health Industrial Safety Act of 1964

This new definition was a major step forward and changed the thinking and the protection of workers.

In the late sixties, workers began to openly criticize the lack of safety regulations and revolutionary movements in the workplace began to occur, forcing the Government of Ontario to update the province’s health and safety laws. A turning point came in 1974. Uranium miners in Elliot Lake became alarmed about the high incidence of lung cancer and silicosis, and they went on strike over health and safety conditions. The government appointed a Royal Commission to investigate health and safety in mines. Chaired by Dr. James Ham, it became known as the Ham Commission.

The Ham Commission Report included more than 100 recommendations concerning mine health and safety. Ham also introduced the idea of an internal responsibility system, which would require government, employers and workers to work together to improve health and safety. To implement this system, he advocated for the creation of joint labour-management health and safety committees. This was the starting point for Joint Health & Safety Committees (JHSC) and a turning point for workers as they would now have the right to participate in health and safety recommendations.

Evolution of the Internal Responsibility System

  • 1975 – The Ham Commission Report recommends joint committees.
  • 1976 – Bill 139 establishes the Employee?s Health and Safety Act. The Minister can order joint committees.
  • 1978 – Bill 70 establishes the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Mandatory joint committees in many workplaces.
  • 1987 – Bill 79 adds Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System to the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
  • 1990 – Bill 208 amends the Occupational Health and Safety Act, broadening the requirement for joint committees. Establishes certified members and the right to stop work.

As well, separate laws covering different industrial sectors were replaced with a comprehensive law covering almost all Ontario workplaces. This law, the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OH&S Act), was passed in 1978.

Rights and Responsibilities of Workers

The Occupational Health & Safety Act includes three fundamental rights of workers:
The right to know about workplace health and safety hazards
The right to participate in health and safety recommendations, through their representation on the joint health and safety committee
The right to refuse work if it endangers health or safety

The Right to Know

The Act places a duty on employers to provide a wide range of information about hazards in the workplace to workers and to joint health and safety committees. Joint committees have a duty to communicate with workers. The right to know was first included in the 1978 Act and further expanded by subsequent amendments.

The Right to Participate

The right to participate is given force by a duty on employers. They must consult with joint committees about testing methods and strategies and about health and safety training programs. Designated worker members of joint committees have the right to be present at the beginning of testing, to participate in Ministry inspections and investigations, and to investigate serious accidents. Certified worker members have the right to investigate complaints dealing with dangerous circumstances. Joint committees have the right to make recommendations to employers about health and safety improvements, and the Act requires employers to reply in writing. The right to participate was established by the 1978 Act.

The Right to Refuse

Bill 139 proposed that workers be given a limited right to refuse work on the grounds that it endangers the health or safety of themselves or another worker. The 1978 OH&S Act expanded on this right by setting out specific work refusal procedures. The Act contains a two-stage refusal process. The work may be initially refused on the basis of a worker?s subjective belief that it is dangerous. Once a supervisor has investigated, the worker must have reasonable grounds for believing that the work is still dangerous in order to continue refusing. Bill 208 extended the right to refuse to workers who were formerly excluded altogether. For example, police officers, firefighters and correctional workers can now refuse dangerous work if the refusal does not endanger others and is not a normal or inherent part of their work.

The Occupational Health & Safety Act sets minimum standards for safe practices and was designed to protect workers and to recognize their rights. The Act is the Law!

For more information regarding the Occupational Health & Safety Act, Regulations or any other workplace health and safety issue, please contact the Windsor Occupational Health Information Service (WOHIS).

Mission Statement

To provide the best possible occupational health and safety information to the community in order to:


Historical Events in 1884

    1st Dutch Wagner version of Elizabeth aria 1st volume of the Oxford English Dictionary, A-Ant, published Canadian Rugby Football Union forms General Charles Gordon arrives in Khartoum

Event of Interest

Feb 18 Police seize all copies of tolstoy's "What I Believe In"

    "Enigma Outbreak" of over 60 tornadoes in Mississippi, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky and Indiana kill hundreds, if not over a thousand (hence the "enigma") people British & Portuguese treaty signed in Congo by Leopold II 1st performance of Edward MacDowell's 2nd Piano Suite

Event of Interest

Mar 8 Susan B. Anthony addresses U.S. House Judiciary Committee arguing for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution granting women the right to vote, 16 years after legislators 1st introduced a federal women's suffrage amendment.

Catholic Encyclical

Apr 20 Pope Leo XIII encyclical "On Freemasonry"

    Potters Field reopened as Madison Park Thomas Stevens starts 1st bike trip around world (2 yrs 9 mths) US recognizes King Leopold II's Congo Free State National Medical Association of Black physicians organizes in Atlanta Construction begins on Chicago's 1st skyscraper (10 stories) Catcher Moses Walker is acknowledged as the first African-American to play major league baseball joining the Toledo Blue Stockings Proclamation of the demand for eight-hour workday in the United States. Institute for Electrical & Electronics Engineers (IEEE) forms in New York Anti-Monopoly party forms in US 10th Kentucky Derby: Isaac Murphy aboard Buchanan wins in 2:40.25 Alaska becomes a US territory Ringling Brothers circus premieres

Event of Interest

May 26 Australian cricket fast bowler Fred Spofforth takes 7-34 & 7-3 against an England XI in a tour match in Birmingham match over in just 4 hours

    Europe's first steam cable trams start in Highgate, London Dr John Harvey Kellogg patents "flaked cereal" John Lynch (R-MS) chosen 1st black major-party national convention chair 18th Belmont: Jim McLaughlin aboard Panique wins in 2:42 William Sherman refuses Republican presidential nomination saying "I will not accept if nominated & will not serve if elected" 1st roller coaster used (Coney Island NY) John Lynch is 1st black elected chairman of Republican convention Dow Jones publishes its 1st stock index, the Dow Jones Transportation Average 1st US bullfight held (Dodge City Ks)

Statue of Liberty

Jul 4 Statue of Liberty presented to US in Paris

    German consul-general Gustav Nachtigal takes possession of Cameroon US Congress accept 2nd Chinese Exclusion Act 1st Test Cricket to be played at Old Trafford 1st day washed out Wimbledon Men's Tennis: 4 consecutive Wimbledon titles for William Renshaw beats Herbert Lawford 6-0, 6-4, 9-7 Wimbledon Women's Tennis: Maud Watson becomes inaugural female champion by beating her sister Lillian Watson 6–8, 6–3, 6–3 1st Test Cricket match played at Lord's

Event of Interest

Jul 29 Society of Independent Artists founded in Paris by Albert Dubois-Pillet, Odilon Redon, Georges Seurat and Paul Signac

    Nonpareil Dempsey [John Edward Kelly] fights George Fulljames, possibly the 1st middleweight fight with boxing gloves Dutch Queen Emma appointed regent Cornerstone for Statue of Liberty laid on Bedloe's Island (NYC) Germany annexes Angra Pequena (Southwest-Africa) First double-century stand in Test cricket Percy McDonnell (103) Billy Murdoch (211) for Australia in drawn 3rd Test v England in London Bill Murdoch scores 1st Test Cricket double-century, 211 at The Oval US National Championship Men's Tennis, Newport R.I.: Richard Sears makes it 4 straight US singles titles beats Howard Taylor 6-0, 1-6, 6-0, 6-2

1st Photograph of a Tornado

Aug 28 First known photograph of a tornado is made near Howard, South Dakota

    MLB pitcher Mickey Welsh makes record for most consecutive batters struck out to begin a game, striking out the 1st 9 men he faces Britain ends its policy of penal transportation to New South Wales in Australia. Congressman John R. Lynch presides over Republican National Convention 6.2 mile Arlberg railroad tunnel completed in Austria Equal Rights Party nominates female candidates for US President and Vice President American Herman Hollerith patents his mechanical tabulating machine, the beginning of data processing Dixey, Rice & Gill's musical "Adonis" premieres in NYC Suriname army shoots on British-Indian contract workers, 7 killed British Open Men's Golf, Prestwick GC: Jack Simpson wins in windy conditions by 4 strokes from fellow Scots Douglas Rolland and Willie Fernie Naval War College forms in Newport, Rhode Island

Historic Invention

Oct 14 George Eastman patents paper-strip photographic film

    General Gordon receives letter of Mahdi Sporting Life announces that both pennant winners will meet in 3 game series Oct 23-25 at Polo Grounds NYC to determine baseball champion International Meridian Conference in Washington, D.C. adopts Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) worldwide, creating 24 international time zones with longitude zero at the Greenwich meridian 1st "World Championship" Baseball Series, Polo Grounds, NYC: Providence Grays (NL) beat NY Mets (American Association), 12-2 in 6 innings for 3 game sweep game abandoned because of bitter cold Architect Henry Hardenberghs Dakota-complex opens in NYC Gaelic Athletic Association is established in a meeting at Hayes' Hotel, Thurles, County Tipperary Clare teacher Michael Cusack is credited as founder objective to promote Irish sport & games

Event of Interest

Nov 4 Grover Cleveland (D) beats James G. Blaine (R) for his 1st presidential term (only American president to serve 2 non-consecutive terms)

    British protectorate proclaimed over southeast New Guinea Montreal Foot Ball Club (QFRU) defeats Toronto Argonauts (ORFU) 30-0 in 1st CRFU Championship game German government recognizes King Leopold II's Congo Free State European Colonization and trade in Africa is officially regulated at the international Berlin Conference, formalizing European powers "Scramble for Africa"

Event of Interest

Nov 17 Cops arrest boxer John L. Sullivan in his 2nd round for being "cruel"

    T Thomas Fortune starts NY Freeman (NY Age) newspaper John B Meyenberg of St Louis patents evaporated milk American Old West: Near Frisco, New Mexico, deputy sheriff Elfego Baca holds off a gang of 80 Texan cowboys who want to kill him for arresting Charles McCarthy. Society of Independent Artists hold 1st exhibition in Polychrome Pavilion, Paris, includes Georges Seurat's "Bathers at Asnières" Aluminum capstone set atop Washington Monument, Washington, D.C. Levant Richardson patents ball-bearing skate

Historic Publication

Dec 10 "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" by Mark Twain is first published in the UK and Canada (US Feb 1885, due to printing error)

    1st Test match played at the Adelaide Oval Great Britain recognizes King Leopold II's Congo Free State Italy recognizes King Leopold II's Congo Free State Austria-Hungary admits King Leopold II's Congo Free State Netherlands recognizes King Leopold II's Congo Free State

Music Premiere

Dec 30 Anton Bruckner's 7th Symphony in E, premieres in Leipzig


The Campaign

The National Americans went all-out from the beginning, determined to finally knock the Democrats out of the White House. They berated the Democrats for several issues, including the now-decade old Pendleton meeting, low tariffs perceived to be limiting the economy, and perceived collaboration with the Confederacy. Allison was not a reformer but campaigned on civil service reform anyway. The National Americans would make any promise if it meant winning the presidency.

The Democrats tried to tout the achievements of the past 20 years, but people were beginning to see how the one-party rule was stagnating the economy and fostering corruption. The Democrats thought that winning New York again was key to their campaign, and so focused many resources there. As he fell behind Allison later in the campaign, Bayard began campaigning on civil service reform, despite being nominated to do the exact opposite.


1884 Reform Act - History

Timeline of Chinese Immigration to the United States

1785 Three Chinese seamen arrive in the continental United States aboard the ship Pallas in Baltimore, MD.

1790 The Naturalization Act of 1790 restricts citizenship to “free white persons” of “good moral character.” The law would be enforced until 1952. In effect the Nation is divided between White and racial minority populations, each of whom would be accorded different and unequal rights and treatment. Racial minorities would be limited in their citizenship, voting, residency, jury, property, and family rights. Asian Americans, including Chinese Americans, would be directly affected by this legislation until it was rescinded by the passage of the Walter-McCarran Act of 1952.

1830 The first U.S. Census notation of Chinese in America records three Chinese living in the United States.

1830s Chinese sailors and peddlers visit New York.

1844 United States and China sign treaty of "peace, amity, and commerce."

1847 Yung Wing and two other Chinese students arrive in US for schooling.

1848 Gold is discovered in California and a gold rush begins.

1850 Chinese American population in U.S. is about 4,000 out of a population of 23.2 million. Chinese in California form associations for mutual protection.

1854 The California Supreme Court decision, People v. Hall, rules that Chinese cannot testify in court.

1858 California legally prohibits Chinese and “Mongolian” immigration.

1860 Chinese American population in US is 34,933 out of a total population of 31.4 million.

1862 The United States prohibits the importation of Chinese “coolies” on American vessels.

1865 Central Pacific recruits Chinese workers to build a transcontinental railroad.

1868 The United States and China ratify the Burlingame-Seward Treaty, which sanctions mutual emigration between the two countries.

1869 The first transcontinental railroad is completed with significant Chinese immigrant labor.

1870 Chinese American population in US is 63,199 out of a total population of 38.5 million.

1870 Congress approves the Naturalization Act, barring Chinese from obtaining U.S. citizenship. The Act also prevents immigration of Chinese women who have marital partners in the United States. Chinese and Japanese men must show evidence in support of a woman’s moralcharacter in the case of prospective and actual wives of Chinese and Japanese descent.

1871 Anti-Chinese violence erupts in Los Angeles and other cities. Such violence continues throughout the decade.

1875 Congress passes the Page Law, which bars Chinese, Japanese, and “Mongolian” prostitutes, felons, and contract laborer immigration.

1878 A federal district court in California rules Chinese ineligible for naturalized citizenship.

1880 The United States and China sign a treaty that allows the United States to limit Chinese immigration.

1882 Congress passes the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which halts Chinese laborer immigration for 10 years and denies Chinese from becoming naturalized U.S. citizens.

1886 The U.S. Supreme Court decision, Yick Wo v. Hopkins, rules that laws that are enforced with racial discrimination violates the 14th Amendment.

1888 The Scott Act declares over 20,000 Chinese laborers’ re-entry permits null and void.

1889 The U.S. Supreme Court decision, Chae Chan Ping v. United States, upholds Chinese Exclusion laws’ constitutionality.

1890 Chinese American population in U.S. is 107,488 out of a total population of 62.9 million.

1892 The Geary Act extends the Chinese Exclusion Act for another 10 years and requires all Chinese residents to carry permits.

1893 In Fong Yue Ting v. United States, the U.S. Supreme Court rules that Congress has the power to expel the Chinese.

1894 Sun Yat Sen, founder of modern China and political activist, helps bring down the Qing dynasty. He establishes home-base operations for the liberation of China among ChineseAmerican communities in Hawaii, San Francisco, and in New York.

1898 The U.S. Supreme Court admits Wong Kim Ark, a Chinese American born and raised in the United States, back into the United States. Ark was initially denied entry due to the Chinese Exclusion Act. The case rules that U.S.-born Chinese cannot be divested of their citizenship.

1904 Congress makes the Chinese Exclusion acts indefinite. Law enforcement officials arrest 250 allegedly illegal Chinese immigrants without search warrants.

1905 California’s Civil Code forbids intermarriage between Whites and “Mongolians.”

1906 Earthquake destroys all records in San Francisco, including immigration records. This opens the opportunity for a new surge of Chinese immigrants. These “paper sons” could now claim with the loss of official records that they were U.S. citizens and had the right to bring family members to America. The U.S. government creates the Bureau of Immigration.

1910 Chinese American population in U.S. is 94,414 out of a total population of 92.2 million. Angel Island Immigration Station opens to process potential Asian immigrants.

1917 The Immigration Act of 1917 restricts immigration of Asian persons and denies entry of natives from the “barred zone.”

1918 World War I Asian veterans receive right of naturalization.

1924 The Asian Exclusion Act, which is part of the Immigration Act of 1924, excludes all Asian laborer immigrants from entering into the United States. The U.S. Border Patrol is created, as an agency under the Department of Labor, to regulate Chinese immigration to the United States across the U.S.-Mexico border.

1925 Chinese wives of American citizens are denied entry.

1929 Annual immigration quotas are declared permanent.

1930 Chinese American population in U.S. is 102,159 out of a total population of 123.2 million.

1932 Anna May Wong, at the height of her career, stars with Marlene Dietrich in Shanghai Express.

1941 The United States declares war after the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor. China is now an ally of the United States.

1943 Congress repeals all Chinese exclusion laws, grants Chinese the right to become naturalized citizens, and allows 105 Chinese to immigrate to the US each year. China and the United States become World War II allies against Japan. The U.S. Army drafts over 20 percent of Chinese men living in the United States.

1945 World War II ends with atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan.

1947 Due to the 1945 War Brides Act of 1945, permitting immigration of foreign wives, husbands, fiancés, and children of U.S. Army personnel, 6,000 Chinese women enter into the United States as wives of Chinese American servicemen.

1949 The United States grants refugee status to 5,000 highly educated Chinese after China launches a Communist government. This Central Intelligence Agency Act (CIA Act) encourages Chinese scientists, engineers, and physicists to enter into the United States in furtherance of U.S. national security interests.

1950 Chinese American population in U.S. is 150,005 out of 151,325,798.

1952 The Walter-McCarran Immigration and Naturalization Act revokes the Asian Exclusion Act of 1924. A small number of Asians are also allowed to immigrate to the United States and are given citizenship status.

1953 The Refugee Relief Act offers unlimited immigrant visas to Chinese refugees.

1959 The U.S. government implements the eight-year “Confession Program” to encourage illegal Chinese immigrants to reveal identities of illegal residents.

1962 The Kennedy Emergency Immigration Act (KEIA Act) permits 5,000 Chinese immigrants to enter the United States during the period of China’s “Great Leap Forward” movement.

1965 A new immigration act effectively removes racial bias from America's immigration laws.

1968 San Francisco State College and the University of California at Berkeley students successfully strike for more minority studies programs. The demonstration leads to the historic School of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State College and the creation of Black Studies at the University of California at Berkeley. In following years, Asian American Studies, Chicano Studies, Native American Studies, and comparative Ethnic Studies programs start at U.C. Berkeley and University of California at Los Angeles. These programs address the immigration history and ethnic experiences of Asian Americans and Chinese Americans.

1970 Chinese American population of the U.S. is 237,292 out of 179,323,175

1976 American physicist Samuel Ting wins the Nobel Prize in Physics

1982 Vincent Chin, a Chinese American, is killed by two white Americans. Chin's killers are sentenced only to probation and a fine of $3,000 plus court fees.

1982 Maya Lin's design selected for the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial.

1987 TIME Magazine publishes a cover article entitled "The New Whiz Kids". Many Chinese Americans express a concern about a "model minority" stereotype.

1990 Chinese American population of the U.S. is 1,645,472 out of 248,709,873.

1996 Dr. David Ho is named TIME Magazine's Man of the Year for his research into HIV/Aids.


Results of Sentencing Reform

After the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984, which provided guidelines for ensuring that similar crimes received similar punishments, Congress also enacted mandatory minimum sentences for certain crimes and drastically increased punishments for repeat offenders. Crime dropped steadily for more than a decade beginning in 1991, and while many people give these measures much of the credit, critics note that aspects of the current system are inherently unfair. For example, penalties for crack cocaine are one hundred times more stringent that penalties for powdered cocaine, because Congress considered the former a much larger threat at the time the law was enacted. Liberal critics have long maintained that the sentencing laws for nonviolent crimes are disproportionately cruel and take a particular toll on minorities and the poor. In addition, federal judges have become more and more frustrated by the lack of discretion they are allowed in evaluating the particulars of a case to hand down an appropriate sentence. Even as crime has dropped dramatically, the prison population has continued to grow, in part because of this strict sentencing, reaching a record of more than two million in 1999. The relationship between large numbers of inmates and the drop in crime is not clear. The drop during the 1990s can also be attributed to a booming economy, better tactics by police, and the end of a crack cocaine epidemic.


Watch the video: What was the Second Reform Act? A brief history of the Second Reform Act 1867