British History - Chartism and It Failure

Topics: Chartism, Working class, Radicalism Pages: 2 (665 words) Published: April 2, 2013
How far was the failure of Chartism in 1851 due to improvements in the economy? Chartism prospered for many years with thousands of workers supporting the chartist movement and expressing their views through the signing of the various petitions that were presented to the Government and taking part in riots and protests incited by Radicals such as Feargus O’Connor and Bronterre O’Brien. However, the factors leading to the downfall of Chartism are certainly debatable with many historians arguing that this was mainly due the economic improvements and prosperity experienced by the working class. It is therefore, necessary to explore other factors that might have led to the failure of Chartism. Firstly, economic improvement seems to have contributed to the failure of Chartism and this consequently led to a rise in living standards, higher wages and an increase in food consumption. Additionally, it was this rise in prosperity that meant the working class no longer craved or needed to support an organisation or movement that was over complicated with too many aims that were not succeeding. This overly complicated programme was also responsible for many workers focussing their attention on other movements that expressed a clearer aim. Improvements in the economy in 1851 led many workers to support these movements. People simply found no use in supporting the Chartists as nothing came of it at the time. Secondly, the Chartists had unrealistic aims which were too advanced for a government that was strong and determined. The aims such as payment for MPs would never have succeeded because it was unrealistic and was something that could not change with a government that was full of aristocracy. This, combined with the other points that the Chartists demanded, confused many people who supported them. Furthermore, the government would never have given in to what the Chartists put forward to them. And as more Chartists put forward an increasing number of aims, workers...
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