It contained six demands: universal manhood suffrage , equal electoral districts, vote by ballot, annually elected Parliaments, payment of members of Parliament , and abolition of the property qualifications for membership. Chartism was the first movement both working class in character and national in scope that grew out of the protest against the injustices of the new industrial and political order in Britain. While composed of working people, Chartism was also mobilized around populism as well as clan identity. A Chartist convention met in London in February to prepare a petition to present to Parliament. In May the convention moved to Birmingham, where riots led to the arrest of its moderate leaders Lovett and John Collins.
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Play media Dramatisation of the trial of the Chartists at Shire Hall, Monmouth , including background information Several outbreaks of violence ensued, leading to arrests and trials. One of the leaders of the movement, John Frost , on trial for treason, claimed in his defence that he had toured his territory of industrial Wales urging people not to break the law, although he was himself guilty of using language that some might interpret as a call to arms. Dr William Price of Llantrisant —more of a maverick than a mainstream Chartist—described Frost as putting "a sword in my hand and a rope around my neck".
By early autumn men were being drilled and armed in south Wales, and also in the West Riding. Secret cells were set up, covert meetings were held in the Chartist Caves at Llangynidr and weapons were manufactured as the Chartists armed themselves.
Behind closed doors and in pub back rooms, plans were drawn up for a mass protest. It seems that Frost and other local leaders were expecting to seize the town and trigger a national uprising. The result of the Newport Rising was a disaster for Chartism. The hotel was occupied by armed soldiers. A brief, violent, and bloody battle ensued. Shots were fired by both sides, although most contemporaries agree that the soldiers holding the building had vastly superior firepower.
The Chartists were forced to retreat in disarray: more than twenty were killed, at least another fifty wounded. Despite this significant setback the movement remained remarkably buoyant, and remained so until late Samuel Holberry led an abortive rising in Sheffield on 12 January; and on 26 January Robert Peddie attempted similar action in Bradford.
Frost and two other Newport leaders, Jones and Williams, were transported. Holberry and Peddie received long prison sentences with hard labour; Holberry died in prison and became a Chartist martyr.
The Northern Star commented on the rejection: Three and half millions have quietly, orderly, soberly, peaceably but firmly asked of their rulers to do justice; and their rulers have turned a deaf ear to that protest. The same class is to be a slave class still. The mark and brand of inferiority is not to be removed. The assumption of inferiority is still to be maintained.
The people are not to be free. Calls for the implementation of the Charter were soon included alongside demands for the restoration of wages to previous levels. Working people went on strike in 14 English and 8 Scottish counties, principally in the Midlands , Lancashire , Cheshire , Yorkshire, and the Strathclyde region of Scotland.
How far these strikes were directly Chartist in inspiration "was then, as now, a subject of much controversy". At the time, these disputes were collectively known as the Plug Plot as, in many cases, protesters removed the plugs from steam boilers powering industry to prevent their use.
Amongst historians writing in the 20th century, the term General Strike was increasingly used. Unrest began in the Potteries of Staffordshire in early August, spreading north to Cheshire and Lancashire where at Manchester a meeting of the Chartist national executive endorsed the strikes on the 16th. The strikes had begun spreading in Scotland and West Yorkshire from the 13th. There were outbreaks of serious violence, including property destruction and the ambushing of police convoys, in the Potteries and the West Riding.
Though the government deployed soldiers to suppress violence, it was the practical problems in sustaining an indefinite stoppage that ultimately defeated the strikers. The drift back to work began on 19 August.
Only Lancashire and Cheshire were still strike-bound by September, the Manchester powerloom weavers being the last to return to work on 26 September.
During the late summer of , hundreds were incarcerated; in the Pottery Riots alone, men and women went to prison. A smaller number, but still amounting to many dozens — such as William Ellis, who was convicted on perjured evidence — were transported.
One protester, Josiah Heapy 19 years old , was shot dead. Cooper alone of the national Chartist leadership was convicted at a different trial , having spoken at strike meetings in the Potteries. He was to write a long poem in prison called "The Purgatory of Suicides. Workers would buy shares in the company, and the company would use those funds to purchase estates that would be subdivided into 2, 3, and 4 acre 0.
Between and , five estates were purchased, subdivided, and built on, and then settled by lucky shareholders, who were chosen by lot. Cottages built by the Chartist Land Company are still standing and inhabited today in Oxfordshire , Worcestershire , Gloucestershire  and on the outskirts of London. Rosedene , a Chartist cottage in Dodford, Worcestershire , is owned and maintained by the National Trust , and is open to visitors by appointment.
More commonly, Chartist candidates participated in the open meetings, called hustings, that were the first stage of an election. They frequently won the show of hands at the hustings, but then withdrew from the poll to expose the deeply undemocratic nature of the electoral system.
This is what Harney did in a widely reported challenge against Lord Palmerston in Tiverton , Devon , in The last Chartist challenge at a parliamentary poll took place at Ripon in On 10 April , a new Chartist Convention organised a mass meeting on Kennington Common , which would form a procession to present a third petition to Parliament.
Historians say , The military had threatened to intervene if working people made any attempt to cross the Thames , and the petition was delivered to Parliament by a small group of Chartist leaders. The Chartists declared that their petition was signed by 6 million people, but House of Commons clerks announced that it was 1. Cuffay was transported, dying in Australia. This was a common theme in histories of the movement until the s. The final National Convention—attended by only a handful—was held in Throughout the s, there remained pockets of strong support for the Chartist cause in places such as the Black Country.
Furthermore, there was no possibility of divorcing it from political science. A man may be devout as a Christian More than 20 Chartist Churches existed in Scotland by Stephens, who was highly influential in the movement.
Political preachers thus came into prominence. In , a previously unknown and uncatalogued smaller pamphlet of 16 hymns was discovered in Todmorden Library in the North of England.
Heavily influenced by dissenting Christians, the hymns are about social justice, "striking down evil doers", and blessing Chartist enterprises, rather than the conventional themes of crucifixion, heaven, and family.
Some of the hymns protest the exploitation of child labour and slavery. Two celebrate the martyrs of the movement. The Chartists were especially critical of the Church of England for unequal distribution of the state funds it received, resulting in some bishops and higher dignitaries having grossly larger incomes than other clergy. This state of affairs led some Chartists to question the very idea of a state-sponsored church, leading them to call for absolute separation of church and state.
Often they forewarned the preacher and demanded that he preach from texts they believed supported their cause, such as 2 Thessalonians , 2 Timothy , Matthew  and James It was not until that urban working men were admitted to the franchise under the Reform Act , and not until that full manhood suffrage was achieved.
Participation in the Chartist Movement filled some working men with self-confidence: they learned to speak publicly, to send their poems and other writings off for publication—to be able, in short, to confidently articulate the feelings of working people. Many former Chartists went on to become journalists, poets, ministers, and councillors.
But the reformers of Manchester were themselves factionalised. By the late s, the celebrated John Bright was agitating in the country for franchise reform.
But working-class radicals had not gone away. The Reform League campaigned for manhood suffrage in the s, and included former Chartists in its ranks. Some leaders were transported to Australia, where they spread their beliefs.
In , Chartist demands were put forward by the miners at the Eureka Stockade on the gold fields at Ballarat , Victoria , Australia. Within two years of the military suppression of the Eureka revolt, the first elections of the Victoria parliament were held, with near-universal male suffrage and by secret ballot.
Play media Dramatisation of the trial of the Chartists at Shire Hall, Monmouth , including background information Several outbreaks of violence ensued, leading to arrests and trials. One of the leaders of the movement, John Frost , on trial for treason, claimed in his defence that he had toured his territory of industrial Wales urging people not to break the law, although he was himself guilty of using language that some might interpret as a call to arms. Dr William Price of Llantrisant —more of a maverick than a mainstream Chartist—described Frost as putting "a sword in my hand and a rope around my neck". By early autumn men were being drilled and armed in south Wales, and also in the West Riding. Secret cells were set up, covert meetings were held in the Chartist Caves at Llangynidr and weapons were manufactured as the Chartists armed themselves. Behind closed doors and in pub back rooms, plans were drawn up for a mass protest.