Chartism

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The working class in Britain was a class that made up the majority of the poplulation, but did not have representtation in the British government. This lack of representation led them to have horrible working conditions, low wages, and widespread poverty throughout the working classes. The people became frusterated and during the 1830's and 1840's a new movement, Chartism, came about to solve their problems. Chartism was an attempt to link the economic plight of the working to a program of political reform. The Chartist movement is a complex movement that is viewed as both revolutionary by the Physical Force Chartists and the Middle Class, it is viewed as moderate by the Moral Force Chartists and the Traditional Rulling Classes.

The Physical Force Chartists were a small group of working class individuals that were willing to do anything to get political rights. The political rights they wanted were listed in the "People's Charter"and called for universal manhood suffrage, annual parliament elections, a secret ballot, no property requirements for parliament, equal representation, and payment for the members of parliament (Doc1). The physical force chartists wanted these rights so bad that they would do anything, such as viloence to obtain them. Physical force chartists saw other chartists that were not willing to work and implement the "People's Charter" no matter at what cost as lazy, and an impedement to the movement suceeding, going as far to say if these people in the city do not work everything else is useless (Doc4). This lack of establishment of the moral forces most likely did lead to their demise because if action and authority were not expressed, the movement would be and did, become recognized as a puny and unthreatening movement by the ruling classes. The ruling classes saw the movement as so unthreatening they released the Physical Force leader, Feargus O'Conner, the "terror to tyrants" from jail (Doc5). After being released from jail,...
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