Were the Chartists a Hunger or a Political Movement?

Were the Chartists a Hunger or a
Political Movement?
Plug Plots: 1842 a petition took place which demanded the six points of the Charter and
included 3.15 million signatures riots began in industrialised areas. The Duke of
Wellington despatched his military forces and O’Connor was imprisoned.
Trafalgar Square: a protest occurred here in 9th march 1848 where 10000 people were
in the crowd and 103 people were arrested as the government were now trying to
stamp down on mass meetings in fear of a revolution.
Violence was proven by fear which government felt as in 1848 and the royal family was
despatch to the Isle of White for their safety as it was during the chartists third petition:
Kennington Common-all the chartists get together to promote the third petition but
due to previous riots, threats and rallies the government were afraid of uprise and
therefore prepared and warned the Chartists of the military ready to move if they were
required. The government and the authorities made some extensive and well-prepared
After Kennington Commons failure but proof of the Chartists influence and intimidation
to the government, other rallies and riots spread throughout the country and
continued the demand of Chartism; troops were brought out in June to defend the
Bank of England and other public buildings against possible attacks.
Hunger Statements
• ‘Chartism means the bitter discontent grown fierce and mad, the
wrong condition therefore, or the wrong disposition, of the working
class.’ T. Carlye 1840
This statement just explains that chartists are for their reform for
underlying anger and frustration.
• ‘Hunger and hatred- these were the forces that made chartism a
mass movement of the British Working Class.’ G.H,D Cole 1941
This statement is following the last; that years of hunger and hard
work in poor working conditions caused a lot of anger and
frustration amongst the Working Class which may have spurred on
the reasoning for joining the Chartists, to fight back against the
government as appose to political reasoning.
• Initial intensions of the Chartists were anger of the Whigs government
failure to honour the 1832 Reform Acts political debts and anger over the
new Poor Law which found an outlet in Chartism. Britain was at a time for
revolutionary change of politics.
• Chartism gave birth to the first ever mass working class political party. The
National Charter Association; it created a political culture that endured for
• The Chartists originally started to change the political system making all
reasons of Chartism revolve around political reasons.
• After Chartism many chartist continue to be active, if not in the National
Charter Association, then in support of the one-off causes, in the radical
campaigns for the state-funded schools in later campaigns to extend the
franchise and most significantly in the newly emerging Liberal Party, which
they helped shape as a more radical successor to the Whigs.
The Six Points
of the Charter.
1. Votes for all men over
2. Secret Ballots
3. Anyone to be MP
4. MP get paid for being
5. Sizes of constituencies
should be equal
6. All constituencies
elected every 12
These demands were for
political change.
The Six Demand of the CharterDemands and reasons.....
Law shows equality , gives working class
power and makes them happy. This law
makes voting a right not a responsibility.
No intimidation able to be used.
3. Anyone to be MP
Public see MP’s as one of them
4. MP get paid for being MP’s
5. Sizes of constituencies should
be equal
Getting paid for work so they have a
incentive to work well and for the people,
plus all people would be able to be an MP.
No rotten boroughs MP’s have an equal
chance and voters have an equal power and
Stops corruption and bribery as MP’s can’t
lose their well paid jobs and have to work
hard to maintain their popularity.
1. Votes for all men over 21
2. Secret Ballots
6. All constituencies elected
every 12 months
Hunger or Political?
• The Chartists initially started their push for their new demands as
they wanted to make a new political system and wanted political
change. The Chartists started as a political movement but then due
to their inability to organise as a whole group and instead separate
into others such as the moral, physical, temperance, Christian and
knowledge chartists. The movement lost control, as more and more
people joined the chartists and numbers grew in signatures for
example 1,280,95 in the first petition and 1,975,496 like at
Kennington Common, the government feared Chartists uprising as
their separate groups achieved. However no matter how violent the
Chartists became there was always an underlying truth that the
Chartists began to make political change and throughout their riots,
those riots only occurred as they wanted to change the politics of
• Political