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The Working Class Challenge
Ryan Clark, Billy Rock, Yuksel
Gezer, Gertrude Saffro…read more

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The Origins of Chartism
· 1832 ­ There was widespread support for
the Reform Bill of 1832 in the working
class, swept by the enthusiasm of reform.
· Many however were disappointed and
angered as the reforms that came about
benefitted only the middle class, leaving
workers feeling betrayed ­ Henry Hunt, and
Michael Sadler both lost seats in
Parliament, with land-owners replacing
· The idea of working glass reform was also
spurred on by the Factory Act 1833, the
Attack on trade unions in 1834 (involving
the Tolpuddle Martyrs), the Municipal
Corporations Act 1835 and the War on
the Unstamped.…read more

Slide 3

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The Charter, the Petition and the
Convention 1837-39
· 1837: Six leaders of the London Working Men's Association
(LWMA) drew up the "People's Charter", six points for political
· Universal manhood suffrage
· Vote by secret ballot
· Annual Parliament
· Equal electoral districts
· Abolition of the property qualification for MPs
· Payment for MPs…read more

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The new People's Charter was adopted
nationwide by many political unions, such
as the Birmingham Political Union, and
launched in Glasgow in May 1838.
· It was decided that a petition should be
signed and handed to Parliament,
collected at mass meetings nationwide.
· 20,000 attended mass meetings in
Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds,
while the Chartist press flourished,
especially The Northern Star, selling
50,000 a week.
· One and quarter million signatures
were collected, with the petition being
over 3 miles long, unprecedented at the
· July 1839: Parliament reject the
petition, by 235 votes to 46; most MPs
wanted nothing to do with further reform.…read more

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The rejection of the National Petition led to a split in the Chartism movement; "moral
force" (backed by the majority of Chartists, with chief authors such as William Lovett)
vs. "physical force" (in the belief of defensive violence):
· "Peacefully if we can, forcefully if we must"
· November 1839: 10,000 miners and iron workers marched to Newport, Wales, with
pikes and guns. After surrounding the local Westgate Hotel, armed guards fired upon
the Chartists, leaving 20 dead ­ this would be known as the Newport Rising
· Authorities viewed this as an armed uprising, leading to the transportation of the key
leaders, and the government repression of the Chartist movement.…read more

Slide 6

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Chartism in the 1840s
· It was recognised that the Chartist
movement had to be reorganised after
the first failure; The Northern Star
encouraged the establishment of the
National Charter Association (NCA) ­
by 1842, it had 50,000 members in 400
· Other "moral force" Chartists set about
starting educational schemes, to
encourage self-improvement, respectable
behaviour and promote responsibility in
· A new petition was signed by 3 million in
1842, aided by an economic depression
and sharp rise in unemployment,
making it the most successful petition of
the Chartist movement.
· May 1842: Parliament reject the petition
by a huge majority.…read more

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