Today representative democracy is the dominant political system in the world. Britain played a prominent part in the democratization of the world through both its constitutional reforms at home and its power and influence abroad. In that process, Prime Ministers played a prominent role through their power and influence in government, Parliament and the country more generally. Quinault examines the stance of ten leading Prime Ministers from the mid-nineteenth century until the twenty-first century on the theory and practice of democracy. The attitude of each Prime Minister is assessed by considering their general views on democracy and their use of that term and concept in their discourse and thereby their role in advancing or resisting democratic political change. Particular attention is paid to their role in electoral reform, together with their stance on the composition and powers of the House of Lords and the role of the monarchy in the governing process. Their attitudes to the democratic aspects of some major international issues are also considered.

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