Chartist Movement

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Chartism was a campaign in support of a people’s charter it came about in 1838. Its main demand was a vote for all men and was launched by a radical group known as London Working Men’s Association (LWMA) and some radical MPs. It was supported by working classes and some middle classes. The Chartism movement grew out of its own possible success because it tore itself apart and there were many reasons behind its failure. It never managed to obtain parliamentary support for the Charter. In July, 1839 a petition with over 1.25 million signatures in support of their aims was taken to parliament and it was rejected three times, by a vote of 235 against and 46 in favour. The middle-class people ignored, shunned or condemned Chartism. Even the government handled the movement firmly and calmly. Chartist demands were also very drastic and there was too much diversity in the intellectual and ideological aims of Chartism. Chartism and the Chartists were made to look ridiculous after Kennington Common, and the failure of the Land Plan. Although it was a failure because it wasn’t accepted in parliament the long term affect had been noticed.

" . . . . In an age when the mass of the working classes were without either organisation or political experience, they were not easily pursued together. The struggle between the conflicting interests of economic reform and political democracy, corresponding as it did to a difference in outlook between north and south, and to the rival policies of revolution and persuasion, ultimately broke up the [Chartist] movement."

This quote is from the introduction to William Lovett’s autobiography about Chartism and saying how the working class had no political influences.

The reasons for the formation of Chartism were because of the failure of the Reform Act of 1832. It just didn't go far enough and had led to disappointment within many sections of the working class. Many radicals had...
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