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McDowell2

Governor-General Herbert Clemens.

The Reform Bill of 1869 was an act passed by the Grand Council of the Confederation of North America and signed into law by Governor-General Herbert Clemens in 1869. The Reform Bill amended the Second Britannic Design by extending the franchise in Grand Council elections to include non-landholders. Sobel does not say specifically how the Reform Bill of 1869 expanded the franchise, only that it did so. He further states that the 1869 bill was the first several such measures leading to the establishment of universal male suffrange in the Reform Bill of 1898.

The Reform Bill was one of two major reforms of the electoral system sponsored by Clemens, the other being the Reform Bill of 1870 redistricting Grand Council seats. Clemens' goal in expanding the franchise was to increase the voter pool to include small businessmen, merchant, and urban workers, who tended to vote Conservative, thereby ensuring the Conservatives' majority in the Grand Council. Ironically, in the 1873 Grand Council elections, the Conservatives actually lost seats in the Grand Council due to the appearance of the People's Coalition. Sobel does not say whether the expanded franchise of the 1869 bill led to the founding of the Coalition, which also took place in 1869, but the timing suggests that it did so.

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