Who was the first to use only M=1?

In a previous thread, Bancki asks a question:

which country was the first to have its parliament elected entirely in uninominal [single-seat] districts?

It is one of those questions to which I feel I should know the answer. But because I don’t always (or often) know things I feel I should know, I have this blog. So I am throwing it out there to the readers…

7 thoughts on “Who was the first to use only M=1?

  1. Not the U.S.? I vaguely recall that the UK had some MMDs into the early 19th century, but was this ever true of the U.S.? And no, I don’t think the Senate disqualifies it.

    • The UK House of Common was not entirely M=1 until the mid-20th century. I thought there were still some districts electing more than one for the US House as late as the 1960s, when federal legislation was passed mandating M=1.

  2. The British House of Commons was exclusively multinominal until the Great Reform Act 1832. The multinominal component was then progressively reduced until the final abolition of university constituencies in 1948.Like a lot of ancient traditions UK uninominalism is actually fairly recent.

    I think it is probably the US House of Representatives, but I am fairly certain the US House was not always exclusively uninominal. I will do a little research.

  3. If the US House had some M>1 until the 1960s you would have to look at France, New Zealand, Canada, Australia and South Africa. The Australian house has always been uninominal since its creation in 1901. I do not yet know about the other cases.

  4. The NZ house was uninominal from its creation in 1852 until the introduction of MMP. Just for the record the Royal Commission on the Electoral System called British uninominalism ‘centuries old’.

  5. The next question is when you count the colonies/dominions as being ‘countries’. Could be as late as the late 1940s for NZ, for instance.

  6. I think you regard colonies as countries from the time they are granted self-government. We are talking political science, not abstruse constitutional indicia of sovereignty.

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