Modern World History

Chartist Movement

This was a movement for political and social reform during mid 19th century between 1838-1848.The Industrial Revolution had brought about great changes in the industrial life of England. It transformed the outlook of the English people. Chartist movement was possibly the first mass working class movement in the world. It followed earlier radical movements such as Birmingham Political Union that demanded a widening of the franchise. The Reform Act 1832 gave the vote to a section of the male middle classes but not the working class that due to social and industrial conditions emerging from artisan and laboring classes. Many radicals made speeches on the betrayal of the working class and the sacrificing of their interests by the misconduct of the government. In 1838 six members of Parliament and six workingmen including William Lovett formed a committee that then published the People’s Charter containing 6 objectives:

  • Universal suffrage for all men age 21 and above.
  • Equal sized electoral districts
  • Voting by secret ballot
  • An end to the need for a property qualification for Parliament
  • Pay for members of Parliament
  • Annual election of Parliament

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