The British Reform Act of 1832

macaulay

                                                                                                  Photo taken by : ALAMY

England, like much of the world has evolved both socio-economically and politically throughout its great history.  In terms of political thought, one of the most important periods of change, it experienced was during the British Reform Act of 1832.  During this period, the British Parliament had many great debates on its floors involving two different schools of political theory, the British Constitution, and social reforms.  Social reform to benefit the middle class had the support of liberals such as Thomas Babington Macaulay.  Other more conservative parliamentarians such as the Tories Robert Peel and Robert Harry Inglis were equally defiant of moving from their political postures in opposition of reform.  Each side of the debate experienced their reasons for support or opposition to the reforms, but ultimately the reforms passed after impassioned pleas from both sides of the issue.  The reforms debated at this time, are not unlike the debates today in both British Parliament and the halls of the United States Capital.  Ideological differences set the stage for the argument, and each side used their own logic in order to set motion in the “rules of engagement” between the liberals and conservatives on the issue of social reform.   Liberals argued that without reform that the masses would become disenfranchised and angry at the British Government.  In addition, they argued that such anger could possibly motivate some to take arms in the form of an organized revolution if left without a voice.  Conservatives argued that they would not support a reform bill presented to them in a confrontational and frightful manner, while citing past bills that resulted in disastrous consequences for the country of England.  Using each sides own words from a series of speeches given during the reform debate it is possible to delineate the political “lines in the sand” that each side presents in their opposition or support of British reform during this era.  The speeches give insight as to the basic tenets of liberalism and conservatism in early-nineteenth-century England.

T. B. Macaulay gave a speech on Parliamentary reform in which he demonstrates his liberal approach to arguing in favor of giving more power to the middle class of England.  His arguments are founded on his belief that England will suffer dire consequences if does not adjust to the needs of its population.  Macaulay believes that the Parliament is not necessarily full of people that do not love their country or have bad intentions that oppose his theories, but instead he feels that the conservatives within the Parliament are misreading the need for immediate change.  He uses examples within contemporary England as to wealth distribution and voting rights as not being consistent with the population at large.  In addition, he looks to other examples in the newly formed United States that give credence to his belief that the English Government is capable of being more a partner of its population rather than being an adversary or entity with conflicting interests.  The following passage is from a speech his gives to Parliament: “Universal Suffrage exists in the United States without producing any very frightful consequences; and I do not believe, that the people of those States, or of any part of the world, are in any good quality naturally superior to our own countrymen” (Maucalay, 2 March 1831). Mauacalay is aware that he is speaking to a domestic audience when he states that he believes that England is not inferior to America.  He essentially is saying that if America is capable of giving universal rights to its people and it works for them, that the same should be possible in English society.   Macaulay’s tactics are not unlike the tactics conducted by any politician regardless of party loyalty or ideological preference.  He issues a challenge to his political rivals rooted in patriotism and competition.  This is a timeless political tactic, but for a country only a few decades separated from a Revolutionary War with the United States, his statements are even more biting in their strength.

Robert Harry Inglis, an ultraconservative Parliamentarian at the time, counters at liberal ideas for political reform by first refuting claims that his liberal colleagues know what is best for the country.  He discusses past failures in the following: “Members consider what must be the consequences of such a state of things in the present artificial condition of society.  To take one instance: one-third of the existing property of the country has been created by the will of Parliament, and may be destroyed by the will of Parliament.  The whole funded debt of England arose in the first instance, from votes of this House: and the credit thus established may be endangered—I will not say extinguished, by another vote” (Inglis, 17 December 1831).  Inglis, is telling the House of Commons that he has been down this road before, and the last time Parliament forced him to do something that he was skeptical about implementing the country paid the price.  Smaller government and less government are strong tenets of modern-day conservative thought.  His statements confirm that some of the political tenets of conservatism are still in place to this day.  Inglis expands on his mistrust of the House of Commons interpretation of British public will in the same speech:  “Now, even if I were disposed to admit to him, which I am not, that Reform is inevitable, I will never admit that it is needful.  I contend that it was not called for either by the wants or by the wishes of the people; and that the attempt to introduce a measure of this kind has been productive hitherto of nothing but injury to the interests of the country” (Inglis, 17 December 1831).  His statement starts defiant in his acceptance that such a Reform Bill will pass into law to begin with, but his statement serves him to attack the fact that the House of Commons will once again make a legislative decision that will hurt the country he loves.  Distrust for the government even by those that work in politics, is a common tenet of conservatism that extends from the nineteenth century to contemporary politics.

Other Tories that differ with Macaulay in terms of political perspective at this time include Sir Robert Peel.  Peel differs with his liberal colleagues in the Parliament that believe that Ireland was in a state of peace due to policy changes that resemble the English Reform Bill. Instead of giving credit to the policies in Ireland, he maintains cautiously optimistic.  He is a moderate conservative when it comes to this issue, especially when he gives praise to the government’s leaders.  This is an excerpt from a speech he gave to Parliament: “No party hostility shall ever prevent me from doing justice whenever justice should be done, or bestowing praise wherever praise ought to be bestowed.  I approve of the course pursued by the present Home department; I admire the conduct of the noble marquis now at the head of Irish government; ever since he has reassumed that office, I have seen nothing in his conduct but entitles him to praise” (Peel, 3 March, 1831).  He takes a populist position on this topic that does not completely conflict with his liberal colleagues.  Instead of attacking the actions of the House of Commons and the legislature introduced by other liberals, he focuses his criticism on the unknown or rationale given for the legislative change.  Another example of this occurring is within the same speech when he questions the intentions of moving elective franchises.  He states the following:  “For noble friend says, that if, in the year 1828, the late government had not refused to transfer the elective franchise from the borough of East Redford to the town of Pirmingham, we should not be now discussing the question of parliamentary reform; for that single measure would have quieted the people on this subject, and would have given general satisfaction.  If, sir, from so small an event, such mighty consequences should have flowed—if it really would have been possible, by so trifling concession as the transfer of the elective franchise from East Redford to Pirmingham; to have satisfied and conciliated all the classes of the community, it is surely of great importance to enquire what is paramount reason which should induce us at the present moment to make so extraordinary a change in the constitution as that which is now proposed” (Peel, 3 March, 1831).  Peel believes that legislative reform should not occur just because one group feels disenfranchised, and therefore he comes to the conclusion that there will always be people dissatisfied with their position within society.

Macaulay believes that the English had gone through many changes throughout their history.  In a speech to Parliament, he goes through a timeline of these changes and how England has progressed as a country due to these changes.  He says the following: “All history is full of revolutions, produced by causes similar to those which are now operating England.  A portion of the community which had been of no account, expands and becomes strong.  It demands a place in the system, suited, not to its former weakness, but to its present power.  If this is guaranteed, all as well.  If this is refused, then comes the struggle between the young energy of one class, and the ancient privilege of another” (Macaulay, 4 March, 1831).  In not so many words, Macaulay is saying that all progress is met with resistance, and that the conservatives around him are from another era that is resistant to inevitable change.

Macaulay’s ideas are representative of nineteenth-century liberal thought.   He firmly believes that the world is changing around him, and the examples of Ireland and the newly formed United States have shown him enough to understand that more rights for the population at large enable countries to progress both socially and economically.   He looks at these examples and thinks that England may benefit greatly from social reforms since it has already gone through substantial progress throughout its history.  Inglis and Peel represent the conservative mindset of the time.  They both have different reasons for their opposition to social reforms, but Inglis is much more of a radical conservative than Peel.  Peel is open a certain amount of change in English government policy, but he is weary of the method and reasons given to him by the English Parliament’s most liberal members such as Macaulay.  He is encouraged by the changes he has witnessed in Ireland, but is also quick to mention that the final verdict is yet to be determined since he views many social reforms as untested liberal policies.  Inglis was a conservative that when compared to other conservatives such as Peel seems even more skeptical of social reforms being offered by liberal parliamentarians.  He voices his skepticism by citing past failures or miscalculations of the House of Commons.  Although he gives logical arguments not unlike Peel, his tone and approach is one that uncompromising and fundamentally different from those given by politicians such as Macaulay.  As difficult of a challenge it was for Macaulay to reach his goal of passing social reforms in England, eventually his side won the debate.  Social reforms soon passed in the House of Commons enabling new rights and voice to larger segments of English society.  In this case, England became a beacon for change after Parliament passed some of the most battled legislature in its history.

Work Cited

“Peel’s speech on Parliamentary Reform :3 March 1831.” Home Page. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Jan. 2012. <http://www.historyhome.co.uk/peel/refact/3march.htm&gt;.

“Peel’s Speech on Parliamentary Reform: 6 July 1831..” Home Page. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Jan. 2012. <http://www.historyhome.co.uk/peel/refact/6july.htm&gt;.

“Reform that you may preserve.” Home Page. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Jan. 2012. <http://www.historyhome.co.uk/peel/refact/preserve.htm&gt;.

“Sir Robert Inglis’ speech in the Debate upon the Second Reading of the Reform of Parliament (England) Bill: 17 December 1831.” Home Page. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Jan. 2012. <http://www.historyhome.co.uk/peel/refact/inglis.htm&gt;.

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Reading response for Frankenstein novel

The novel Frankenstein is a powerful piece of literature for several reasons.  It is extremely well written and engaging for the reader due to the fact that it was revolutionary for its time.  Shelley writes a science fiction novel that refers to scientific study and method combined with elements of supernatural horror and psychological evaluation.  Shelley accomplishes writing a complete novel while at the same time engaging in social commentary through the narrative of Victor Frankenstein.  This narrative is used to not only put emphasis on science, morality, and the human condition, but Shelley uses it also to present the reader with how opportunity and decision of this era often exclude women.  Frankenstein is a man brought back to life by another man.  The character is a symbol of  man’s pursuit of dominating nature which also fails to include a feminine perspective.  Misogyny and limited opportunity for women exist to this day in the workplace and within the scientific field based on the percentages of male versus female scientists, but Frankenstein forces the reader to acknowledge a contemporary perspective of a masculine need for dominance over feminine views or even nature itself.  This novel through its narrative of Dr. Victor Frankenstein exposes the reader to a feminine perspective that is under attack by the dominating masculine view that was often utilized throughout the industrial revolution.  Europe had been transformed and sold on the progress of this massive change while Shelley forces the reader to revisit the true existence of benefit or progress in society that often excludes a feminine perspective.

The animation of Dr. Victor Frankenstein’s monster is a symbol of undeclared abhor toward the opposite female sex.  Mellor in her critique of the novel describes how the feminine hold of natural reproduction is taken and portrayed in Dr. Frankenstein’s nightmare.  She writes: “The natural mode of human reproduction symbolically erupts in his nightmare following the animation of his creature, in which his bride-to-be is transformed in his arms into the corpse of his dead mother” (274).  Mellor adds that Dr. Frankenstein did not only take reproduction away from women, but that his intentions are to create other men that are created by men.  He refuses to create a female version of his creature.  He strives to build a society limited to the male sex.  It is not only rage that Victor feels toward other females, but his character is also full of fear and mistrust of “the feminine”.  Women are not considered by the central figure of the novel.   Frankenstein’s nightmare clearly demonstrates that he fears or is threatened by the female sex, therefore his mind must destroy it while at the same time giving strength to his sex.   His fear is derived from a fear of dependency of other females.  His narrative implies that he wishes to mute other women from having their own independent arguments or desires that might run counter to his own.  Frankenstein fears that if he creates an ugly female creature that the male monster might refuse to mate.  Mellor writes about Frankenstein’s fears in the following:  “He is afraid of an independent female will, afraid that his female creature will have desires and opinions that cannot be controlled by his male creature” (279).  The scientist fails to take into account the perspective of a female creature reacting unfavorably to the hideous sight of the male monster.  Shelley uses Frankenstein’s fears as a way to demonstrate a double standard in her own society.  She expands on this misogynistic world view as females are almost regarded as pets where they are not allowed to travel with men or be expected to be able to complete similar occupational tasks, especially in those in the scientific field.  The singular advantage of being able to procreate is abducted by Frankenstein while reducing female reproductive power.  Shelley puts a mirror in front of her readers to examine how their own gender views might have been influenced by external societal influences.

Frankenstein deems himself as a God with the power to separate the natural roles of both males and females.  As with all human beings he was born from another female, but wishes to disturb this natural order.  Frankenstein hold many double standards in his arguments for both creating and destroying the creature he creates.  On such fear is that a female creature could potentially raise an entire race of similar creatures.  He goes one step further in that he fears that a female creature could more sadistic or evil than the male version.  Most of the female characters in Shelley’s novel are maids or nurses instead of doctors or other professionals.  Shelley through Frankenstein’s narrative coupled with the absence of occupationally strong female characters paints a picture of male dominance in a clear and engaging way with the reader.  Additionally, the love interest of Dr. Frankenstein named Elizabeth is also intentionally treated as possession in order to drive this point.  Shelley effectively writes about a man that is undone by his own fear and desires, many of which run counter to a feminine perspective of life and gender roles.  Her criticisms are still as much relevant today as they were in the early 19th century when she completed the novel.

Who is Really Writing?

The subject of ghostwriting continues to be contentious in regards to its ethical viability. As new technologies and business practices begin to ask more of company CEOs, politicians, and other professions, many are turning to ghostwriters. This surely amounts to the outsourcing of the one thing that individuals should absolutely be held accountable for, and that is their words.

The very fact that this practice is most often used by people who are in the public eye should send up a red flag to any skeptical individual.  Take politicians, for example. Many politicians today have ghostwriters who write their speeches, books, pubic announcements, and even their own written commentary on an issue. There comes a point when one should question whether or not the very words coming from a politician’s mouth are really his or her own.  In the world of politics the very idea of this should raise eyebrows seeing as the basic function of the politician in society is to represent a wider constituency. In regards to their constituency a politician’s words are everything. As PRSA states in its core values, public relations should “work to strengthen the public’s trust in the profession.” Ghostwriting inherently fractures the foundation of these ethics by giving the politician, or other official, a means to shift blame if something written proves to be unfavorable to the public.

This same fractured ethical framework extends to any instance where ghostwriting can occur. For example, the print journalism industry is seeing a proliferation in the number of op-ed style pieces written by ghostwriters. This proves to be ethically questionable according to Dan Gilmore because of the byline. A byline exists to show the reader who authored what they are reading. As PRSA states, public relations practitioners should, “Be honest and accurate in all communications.” In short, if a byline doesn’t reflect the fact that an article was written or contributed to by a ghostwriter then, Gilmore states, “a false byline is an outright, direct lie.” Gilmore’s full quote and the related articles by Lewis McCrary can be accessed here.

In conclusion, ghostwriting can be an ethical practice when used under the correct conditions. It is unrealistic to believe that every individual with important tasks to accomplish each day will always be available to write everything they need to write, but there are certain instances where ghostwriting should not be tolerated. As outlined above, ghostwriting opens many doors for abuse within its own structure because it allows people to disassociate themselves from eventual public scrutiny.

How to Engage the Diverse Audience

In a rapidly globalizing world the likelihood of anyone doing business or interacting with someone of another culture or other diverse background becomes greater every day. This means that the importance of being able to write or speak to diverse audiences is a valuable and necessary skill in the modern world. This can easily be achieved if one just tries to follow a few simple rules.

The first rule for addressing a diverse audience also happens to be the golden rule. One can simply account for most diverse audience situations if they think before saying anything that could be deemed to be presumptuous about a person’s gender, sexual orientation, culture, ethnicity, race, disability status, or even age. Though this should not seem too difficult there are a couple of tips for keeping yourself consciously aware of the kind of language you use when presenting yourself. Simma Lieberman says that in today’s world people have to be more PC, which she defines as “positively conscious” or, in other words, being actively aware of one’s audience. The only effort needed to be PC, the way Lieberman defines it, is just by doing a little bit of research on who your audience will be and where they may be coming from. A short list of Lieberman’s top ten tips for being “Positively Conscious” can be found here.

Lieberman, along with many others who have written on this subject, give much of the same advice when gauging an audience. One major point is the need to make your audience feel as if they are being included in what you are talking about. Steven and Suzan Beebe, in their “Public Speaking Handbook,” say that inclusion on all fronts is key. Many times one blithe comment about sexual orientation, gender, or any other identity could severely alienate those people as well as their friends, families and colleagues.

Another important issue to consider is whether or not you will be speaking to, what the Beebes call, high-context or low-context cultures. These terms refer to the use of nonverbal messages and include subtle body language, tone, and even facial expressions. The Beebes state that high-context cultures put much more emphasis on these qualities in speech than low-context cultures. Arab culture, for example, is considered a high context culture. In another words, Arabs may tend to like a speaker who focuses on “delivery and the communication environment, “and may dislike“a speaker who boasts about his or her accomplishments” (pg. 88).

Remember that in instances where you may be speaking to a diverse audience you may also be speaking to a group of diverse listeners (Beebe, page 92). This means, although you want to include everyone in your language, you must also be sure to know who your target audience is and what you are going to do as you utilize this language. This can be done through numerous strategies, some of which include using common audience perspectives and visual materials that transcend language differences. For more detailed information about reaching diverse audiences, as well as public speaking more generally, refer to the “Public Speaking Handbook,” which can be found here.

Electronics: Significant Part of my Daily Life

We may not realize nor acknowledge the importance of electronics, but in fact electronics influence our lives in a positive way, which make the world a better place to enjoy. Personally, I can’t imagine living without them, as my life is surrounded by electronics every day. To some, electronics might not be beneficiary or efficient, but to others like me, they have become our needs and they continually improve our lives dramatically.

In the morning, I wake up at the sound of my alarm clock. Sometimes it’s hard to get up easily, and thankfully, my alarm clock snoozes every five minutes. I then brush my teeth using my electronic toothbrush, which provides me a dentist-like cleaning. As I’m getting ready to start my day, I never forget to charge my phone. To prepare breakfast, I use the microwave to heat up my food, especially when I’m on the go. While eating breakfast, I tend to listen to the radio for some news. Right before I leave the house, I make sure to turn off the central air conditioner. To get to my car, I use the remote control of the garage door opener. If I wanted to take a shortcut, I’d rely on my GPS to get me there. While I’m in the car, I like to listen to music on my Ipod, if not I just turn on the stereo. To make some calls, I use my phone headset, which allows me to keep my hands on the wheel. Otherwise, I’m on my cell phone during the day to keep in touch with close ones, either by sending text messages or by making calls. Another thing I carry around with me wherever I go is my laptop, which lets me browse the internet, communicate via email, instant messaging, and so on. Moreover, I utilize my laptop for voice chats using my microphone and it saves me a lot of money when wanting to communicate with my family back home. I also use my webcam in order for them to see me live. To keep track of my daily schedule and appointments, I utilize my personal organizer which helps me to not miss out on any important dates. Once I get home, I like to relax on my couch and watch TV, and when I’m with a group of friends, we enjoy putting on a DVD for a few hours. To kill time, I usually play video games on my PS3 or just online games on my desktop computer. At the end of the day, I get myself ready to go to bed and I turn off the lights.

As you can see, it’s hard for me to not have my electronics on a daily basis. Without my alarm clock, I’d be still in bed and late, whether it was for University, a job interview, meeting, etc. Without my cell phone, it would be hard to communicate with friends and family. Without the radio, I wouldn’t know what is going on in the world. Without my central air conditioner in the summer, let’s just say I wouldn’t get any sleep. Without my GPS, I’d be lost and wouldn’t know which road to take. Without my laptop, I wouldn’t be able to get on with my day. Without my personal organizer, I’d miss out on my essential plans. Without TV and my PS3, I would have nothing to do at home. Having said that, my whole life depends on the use of electronics and they are a significant part of my daily life.

Written by Talal Mulla Ali  in 2009.

Ghost Blogging is it ethical or unethical?

Ghost blogging is simply inappropriate; ghost blogging involves hiring someone to write in your name instead of doing your own writing and putting effort into it. Is it ethical for someone involved public relations to participate in ghost blogging? Top executives are busy and commonly lack the writing skills that are needed for a blog; it is not appropriate to utilize ghost blogging to attribute ideas to other people. For example, my position would be to refuse using other people’s names, and to keep writing as an original author even if I feel that I do not have adequate time to do so. The PRSSA Code of Ethics specifies that people should be honest and transparent in disclosing information regarding their public image. In fact, the intent of such disclosures, according to the PRSSA website, is, “To build trust with the public by revealing all information needed for responsible decision making,” (PRSSA Code of Ethics). Ghost blogging establishes ample room to betray such trust if the author or ghostwriter need to. For example, Dave Fleet in his website stated that even though the police arrested Kanye West, a ghost writer continued publishing posts in his blog as if they were the real Kanye West. This ghostwriter damaged reputation Kanye West’s. In short, the advent of ghostwriting has opened many avenues for people to be more productive; however, it also allows for individuals to change public opinion through deception as demonstrated by the Kanye example.