The political economy of Southern Rhodesia: 1883- 1923
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The role of the settlers has usually been overlooked or underestimated. The granting of the franchise to qualified persons in 1898 was in fact the outcome of a series of demands, public meetings, and representations to Rhodes, requesting the vote. Such demands had been ignored before 1896. The circumstances after the risings of 1896, in the face of the possible revocation of the Charter, caused Rhodes to propose settler representation on the Legislative Council to the Colonial Office, whose assent can be taken as recognition of the check this would provide on the Company's government, (l) The increases in the number of elective seats in the Council in 1902, 1907, and 1912 were similarly the outcome of popular demand, rather than gratuitous concessions by the authorities. In the elections of 1920, the success of the candidates supporting responsible government led to the referendum of 1922, and the earlier termination of Company rule than might otherwise have been expected at the end of its ten year period in 1924 or even later. These political demands and achievements, cannot, however, be seen in a purely political light, and can only be understood in terms of the economic situation in the country.