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James Harrington (1611—1677) political theorist

George Grote (1794—1871) historian and politician

Daniel Defoe (1660—1731) writer and businessman

Charles Grey, 2nd Earl (1764—1845) prime minister

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secret ballot


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Was advocated as early as 1656 by James Harrington in Oceana, discussed in pamphlets at the time of the Glorious Revolution, argued by Defoe in 1708, and became a persistent radical demand in the 18th cent. Nevertheless, when the reform committee proposed it in 1831 it was struck out by Grey and the cabinet, to the great relief of William IV. The issue was then taken up by George Grote, and became one of the chartists' six points. A select committee in 1869 reported in favour and in 1872 Forster succeeded in carrying the measure against some opposition by the House of Lords.


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