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  • Created by: Ruth
  • Created on: 10-05-10 18:47

People joined the Chartist Movement because of;

  • Poor working conditions in factories and mines – long hours, low pay and it was dangerous.
  • Poor living conditions – slum dwellings, filthy, diseases, early deaths
  • The 1832 Reform Act – workers expected the vote but did not get it
  • Anger at the 1834 Poor Law – which threw paupers into the harsh and cruel workhouse instead of helping them.

The most important reason was to do with TRADE

  • Trade was BAD
  • This lead to low wages, factories closing, unemployment, poverty, starvation
  • Workers were desperate
  • They joined the Chartist movement when times were very hard

The aims of ChartismThe People’s Charter

  • A vote for every man of 21 years of age (universal suffrage)
  • Secret ballot – to protect the voter and to stop corruption and bribery
  • No property qualification for members of parliament – so a constituency can vote in any person of their choice
  • Payment of M.P.s – so a working man can become an MP and not starve
  • Equal Constituencies – To make sure that there was the same amount of voters in each area of the country
  • Annual Parliaments – A vote every year

It was hoped that by getting a say in how the country was run the workers would be able to improve their horrible working and living conditions.

If Charter were passed workers would have a say in the running of the country. Their views would have to be listened to by the MPs and the government, and therefore laws would be passed to improve their dreadful living and working conditions.

  • Workers would be able to vote
  • Workers would be able to become MPs
  • Workers in parliament could then pass laws to improve the lives of all workers. (Better Housing, Cleaner Towns, Better working conditions)
  • If MPs did not make improvements, they would be voted out of power next time (1 year)

The Chartists Supporters

  • The vast majority of members were workers
  • At the beginning of the movement there was a lot of middle class support (e.g. Robert Owens and Thomas Attwood –a Birmingham banker)
  • However, the middle class left the movement in the early 1840s as Chartists agitation become more violent

Moral Force and Physical Force Chartist

It is important to remember that the split in the movement made it much weaker than a united chartist movement would have been.

Moral Force Chartists

  • Led by William Lovett
  • They used peaceful methods
  • They used discussion, persuasion, orderly meetings, peaceful demonstrations, processions & pamphlets
  • They wanted the charter without violence and without breaking the law

Physical Force Chartists

  • Led by Fergus O’Connor
  • They used violent methods
  • They would strike, got weapons and trained men how to use them
  • O’Connor wanted armed revolution
  • They believed peaceful methods would never achieve anything
  • Support came from the Northern Star newspaper

The Arguments for both sides

The Moral Force

  • Most workers did not support violence and therefore it would fail
  • The army would easily crush any such rebellion


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