The Act extended the franchise into the middle classes. Propertied male adults paying a annual rent of £10 or more (£2 in the rural counties) could vote. The vote was also extended to those with copyhold tenure of £10 or more and leaseholders or tenants-at-will paying £50 in rent. These changes increased the electorate from 435,000 to 652,000 (1 in 7 males) and gave greater political influence to urban centres in the north while leaving the rural areas under aristocratic control. The Act also abolished 56 rotten boroughs and removed one MP from boroughs with less than 4,000 inhabitants.
About 300,000 more men were able to vote.
However, parliament was still under the thrall of the gentry and there was still great disparity between the size of constituencies. Despite the hopes of Lord John Russell that further reform would never be necessary, popular pressure led to greater changes.
See also: Reform Act of 1867, Reform Act of 1884, Representation of the People Act, 1918, Representation of the People Act, 1928, Representation of the People Act, 1948, Representation of the People Act, 1969.