Chartism: Women's Suffrage and National Political Movement

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Chartism was a working-class political movement calling for the extension of the franchise that emerged in the mid-1830s. Motivated by a sense of ‘betrayal’ by the actions of the Whig government and the impact of a deep economic depression between 1837 and 1842, it saw political reform as essential if the living and working conditions of working people were to be improved. The power of the spoken and written word played a central role in Chartism and the foremost demagogue of the movement was Feargus O’Connor, whose rhetoric in all its ambiguity and exaggeration was published in his newspaper, The Northern Star. His speech at York, reported in the Star on 6 July 1839, was in favour of a motion that: “every male adult of the kingdom ought to have a voice in making the laws by which he is governed...” and gave voice to the pent-up emotions of a working-class that was denied access to the levers of political or economic power. Your introduction needs to take the form of something like this. It provides a context for the document, identifies the circumstances in which the speech was given and recognises that ambiguity and exaggeration was (and still is) a central feature of political oratory. The problem with what you’ve written is that, although you address the issue of the three explanations for Chartism’s support you do so in a general way and do not focus sufficiently on the source. I would be inclined to divide your piece into five sections: introduction, economic, national political movement and inclusive cultural community and conclusion in which you address the issue of which, if any, is stressed most strongly by the speaker. What you’ve written is a commentary using secondary sources to sustain your argument. You need to be very clear what your argument is and how the source reinforces that argument. The introduction I’ve written is all you need to start. Omit any discussion of Cartwright, his significance was to the period between 1815 and...
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