This introductory chapter begins with a brief description of the purpose of the book, which is to provide a full account of politics in Wales between the passing of the Great Reform Act in 1832 and the Third Reform Act in 1844-45. During this period, a recognizably modern and democratic system of government was established in Britain. It explains why the literature on Welsh political history has developed so distinctively, and the different set of questions that must be asked if the Welsh experience is to be integrated with the wider history of electoral politics in Britain. An overview of the subsequent chapters is presented.
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