Chartism: Working Class and National Political Movement

Topics: Working class, Social class, Marxism Pages: 5 (1308 words) Published: March 26, 2013
TMA 02

Task 1
In the history block, you learned about three explanations for Chartism’s support – a reaction to economic pressure, national political movement and an inclusive cultural community. What evidence is there in the extract above of three explanations for Chartism’s support that you learned about in the history chapter of Y180, and which, if any, is stressed most strongly by the speaker?

Part 1
In no more than 200 words, write a plan for this essay

1. Explain the background and context of the extract
2. This essay will consider the evidence for Chartism’s support in terms of economic pressure, popular radicalism, and cultural inclusiveness 3.It will argue all three factors contributed to Chartism’s support but political focus is dominant

Economic pressure:
1. 1837-42 were periods of economic downturn, Chartism attracted support by addressing economic circumstances – mention class legislations 2. Manufacturing population under-represented in the electoral system 3. Mention Asa Briggs, secondary source 1, who highlights the significance of economic circumstances

A national political movement:
1. Indicate how Chartism was built on pre-existing support for electoral reform 2. State the popular proposed class legislation changes 3. Use primary source 6 to show the heritage of popular radicalism and the public’s want for reform 4. Mention the use and importance of political language 5. Back up this view with Stedman Jones, secondary source 2

Cultural incisiveness:
1. Chartism welcomed those that were excluded from power in every other way - the working class 2. Mention Ellen Yeo, secondary source 3 to support this 3. Ideal of power to the people

1. Evidence for all 3 factors
2. Final reflection – political movement is most stressed
200 words

Part 2
Write the essay, using no more than 800 words.

In this essay I shall consider how all three explanations contributed to Chartism’s support and which factor can be seen as the most dominant. The speech made by an unknown speaker in 1839 is a primary source of information from the Northern Star newspaper, the ‘main voice in print’ (P.107) of Chartism, and therefore we cannot be sure of its reliability. The motive exists to exaggerate the audiences’ size and enthusiasm, numbers of ‘between 5,000 and 12,000’ (Background) and comments such as ‘loud cheering’ (L.12) could have been fabricated. The report was published in Chartism’s early years, a time of economic recession and social tension when the Whig party held power. The extract highlights the audiences’ economic circumstances making some references to inclusivity, however I believe political focus is the key theme.

To begin with I shall consider economic pressure. Paragraph four of the extract focuses on this factor, the speaker makes several remarks which relate to and evidences the audience’s poverty such as ‘ragged clothing’, ‘insufficiency of food’, and ‘insufferable despair’. Chartism attracted support by instilling hopefulness that if democracy was put into practice, people’s economic anguish would lessen, namely that the Poor Law of 1834 would be discarded and taxes reduced. Chartism became an established movement due to a structural transfer in the economy from agriculture to manufacturing; the working classes in these industrial areas were under-represented. Manufacturing industries were prevalent in York and the surrounding areas therefore these economic factors would be close to the audience’s hearts. Briggs, secondary source 1, supports this view by arguing manufacturing communities displayed the strongest support whilst rural areas showed considerably less.

The explanation of Chartism being a national political movement is strongly evidenced in the extract. The speaker expresses many political ideas, talking of an end to the established...
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