Chartism the fight for the vote
1 / 28

Chartism: the fight for the vote - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

  • Uploaded on
  • Presentation posted in: General

Chartism: the fight for the vote. Quiz. What was remarkable about Addison’s first article in The Spectator ? What the three pillars of the Enlightenment? What was “the trauma of knowledge”? To what did Gibbon attribute the decline of the Roman Empire? Who were the Jacobites?. Quiz: London.

I am the owner, or an agent authorized to act on behalf of the owner, of the copyrighted work described.

Download Presentation

Chartism: the fight for the vote

An Image/Link below is provided (as is) to download presentation

Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author.While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - E N D - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Presentation Transcript

Chartism: the fight for the vote


  • What was remarkable about Addison’s first article in The Spectator?

  • What the three pillars of the Enlightenment?

  • What was “the trauma of knowledge”?

  • To what did Gibbon attribute the decline of the Roman Empire?

  • Who were the Jacobites?

Quiz: London

  • Who was the architect of St Paul’s and many other churches in London after the Great Fire?

  • To whom is the front of Waterloo Station dedicated?

  • What does The Monument mark?

  • What streets link Westminster and the City of London?

The story so far

  • Social movement use different methods, depending on their time

  • They can be long: movement against slavery

  • They can spread beyond their core: fight for liberty

  • They depend on a public sphere

The Chartist Movement, which occupied so large a space in English public affairs during the ten years 1838 to 1848, was a movement whose immediate object was political reform and whose ultimate purpose was social regeneration. Its programme of political reform was laid down in the document known as the “People’s Charter”, issued in the spring of 1838. Its social aims were never defined, but they were sufficiently , though variously, described by leading men in the movement. It was a purely working class movement , originating exclusively and drawing its whole following from the industrialised and unpropertied working class which had but recently come into existence. For the most part it was a revolt of this body against intolerable conditions of existence. That is why its programme of social amelioration was vague and negative. It was an attempt on the part of the less educated portion of the community for a new and astounding condition of society whose evil the more enlightened portion had been either helpless or unwilling to remedy.

Hovel 1918: 1

The People’s Charter

  • Every male adult is entitled to vote

  • Voting by secret ballot

  • Division of equal constituencies

  • Annual Parliaments

  • No property qualification for an MP

  • MPs to be paid


  • Upper sections of the middle class had got the vote in 1832

  • A new working class was formed by industrialisation

  • New government had enacted anti-working class measures

  • Radicals from different campaigns coalesce

At the same time

  • The Anti-Corn Law League: against the 1815 Corn Laws which set high prices for corn

  • Staple diet of working class : bread

  • Employers whished to lower wages: and philanthropic leaders.

ACLL: leadership and organisation: Bright

  • John Bright (1811-1889) Father a mill owner

  • Quaker

  • Great orator

  • MP

ACLL: organisation and leadership: Cobden

  • Richard Cobden (1804-1865)

  • Merchant and factory co-owner

  • Very organised and good at business

  • First publication argues for, low budgets, free trade, peace and non-intervention


  • “The League both represented, and in part created, the commercial-minded individualistic middle class.” Morgan 479

  • Vs the territorial aristocracy

The working class

  • Industrialisation:

    • New factory workers

    • Impoverishment of hand workers

  • The navvies and other railway builders

London’s working class

  • Those serving the ruling class:

    • Servants, tailors, cabinet makers, etc

    • Shop workers (eg Regent Street)

    • Production: Ship builders (the new docks) etc

  • Transport workers

  • Infrastructure

  • Swetted trades: weavers, tailors etc

  • “The intensification of small scale production, the unremitting pressure to reduce wages by use of less skilled labour, struggles of staple industries to survive in the face of domestic and overseas competition, and the imperative of maintaining imperial authority.” (Marriott 2011: 95)

  • Lumpen: crossing sweepers, rag pickers etc

London 1802

London Railway termini 1830s-40s





London’s population

  • YearPopulationGrowth in decade

  • 1801959,000

  • 18111.1 m19%

  • 18211.4m21%

  • 18311.7m20%

  • 18412.0m18%

  • 18512.4m21%

Leadership and organisation: moral and societies

  • London Working Class Association

    • William Lovett (1800-1877): Cornwell born, Methodist, self educated, cabinet maker, quiet, secretary and treasurer, moral force

    • Small group, only working class to keep leadership out of the hands of the middle class who had betrayed them, associate members of other classes and MPs

Leadership and organisation: physical and central

  • Fergus O’Connor (1794-1855) Irish, educated

  • “the ruin of the Chartist movement” (Woodhead 136)

  • Great organiser who brought it into a national campaign: Sharman

  • Big heavily built, big voice

  • Often going for violence, but never pulled the trigger; absent at crucial times

  • Lots of ideas: The National Land Company

  • MP

  • Declared insane 1852

Chartism: methods

  • Select meetings and leadership

  • Petition

  • Pamphlets on wide subjects

  • Posters

  • Demonstrations with speeches

The vote

  • The person or property

  • Debated in the Civil War and property won

    • “We judge that all inhabitants that have not lost their birthright should have an equal vote in elections” vs “No person has a right to this who does not have a permanent fixed interest in this kingdom (property)”

    • “It may be that by law the majority may destroy property.”

Convention: the British Assembly?

  • Vs Parliament: MC rather than MP; French Assembly

  • With force backing it (O’Connor etc)

  • If petition rejected:

    • General strike

    • Boycott of non-Chartist shops

    • Run on the banks

    • Refusal to pay rent, rates taxes

    • Defend with force

A general protect

  • The industrialisation of England changed the society

  • Now manufacturing and infrastructure

  • A working class is assembled by capital

  • Leaders of this class get consciousness of their class

  • Other protests against the exploitation of capitalism are focused on Chartism

The remarkable year: 1848

  • Outbreak of demand for reform across Europe destabilises the 1815 settlements.

  • Paris, Vienna, Venice, Milan, Berlin, etc

  • Mostly put down by the end of the year.

  • Marx and Engels The Communist Manifesto

Why did Chartism fail and the ACLL succeed as social movements?

  • Chartism:

    • Moral argument did not gain enough support outside the working class and

    • Physical force not strong enough to frighten the other classes into reform

  • ACLL:

    • On the rising tide of free trade good for British manufacturing

    • Access to Parliament due to 1832 reform act

    • The rising middle classes supported it

  • Login