Press cuttings reporting the speeches and trials of chartists

Scope and Content

Press cuttings reporting the speeches and trials of chartists.

Administrative / Biographical History

Chartism was a workingmen's political reform movement in 1838-1848. Itderived its name from the People's Charter, a document published in May,1838, that called for voting by ballot, universal male suffrage, annualParliaments, equal electoral districts, no property qualifications formembers of Parliament, and payment of members. The charter was drafted by theLondon Working Men's Association, an organization founded (1836) by WilliamLovett (1800-1877) In Aug., 1838, the charter was adopted at a nationalconvention of workingmen's organizations in Birmingham. The followingFebruary another convention, calling itself the People's Parliament, met inLondon. A Chartist petition was presented to Parliament (and summarilyrejected), but the convention rapidly lost support as the multiplicity ofaims among its members and rivalries among its leaders became apparent. Riotsin July and a confrontation between Chartist miners and the military atNewport, Wales, in November led to the arrest of most of the Chartist leadersby the end of 1839. In 1840, the Chartist leader Feargus O'Connor (1794-1855)founded the National Charter Association (NCA) in an attempt to centralizethe organization of the movement, but most of the other leaders refused tosupport his efforts. It was the NCA that drafted and presented to Parliamentthe second Chartist petition in 1842. It too was rejected. In April 1848, anew convention was summoned to London to draft a petition, and a massdemonstration and procession planned to present the petition to Parliament.The authorities took precautions against trouble, but the demonstration wasrained out and the procession, which had been forbidden, did not take place.This event marked the end of Chartism in London, although the movementsurvived for a while in some other parts of the country.


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Harding, George

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