During the Reconstruction the people of the South were divided thus: nearly all native whites (the most prominent of whom were disfranchised) on one side irrespective of former political faith, and on the other side the ex-slaves organized and led by a few native and Northern whites called respectively scalawags and carpet-baggers, who were supported by the United States government and who controlled the Southern state governments.
The number of electors (2,541,327) at the general election in 1904 was 29% of the male population over twenty-one years of age, and 7~6% of the total population exclusive of those temporarily disfranchised on account of military service; and of these 627% voted.
The borough returned two members to parliament from 1558 until disfranchised by the Reform Act of 1832.
The whole noble order was disfranchised; to be noble was equivalent to being shut out from public office.
The borough was represented by two members in parliament in 1300 and 1311, and then not again till 1640, from which date it returned two members until disfranchised by the act of 1868, the returning officer being the portreeve, who was also the chief magistrate of the borough until its incorporation by charter of 1846.