Chartism

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Chartist Thomas Carlyle, Ballarat Heritage Services Picture Collection

Background

Chartists were supporters of the People's Charter or Chartist movement in England in the late 1830s and 1840s.[1]

Chartism had given a voice to the English working class, who rallied at huge meetings to denounce the class system, and assert the class solidarity of the workers. Chartists rallied against the injustices of the Poor Law and the failure at attempts to develop trade unions.

Chartist Principles

Chartism was a working class movement that championed a democratic constitution and political and social reform for the non-propertied class. Workers at that time did not have the right to vote in parliamentary elections and didn’t have any industrial or human rights. Chartism took its name from the People's Charter of 1838 which demanded the following six main objectives: • “Universal” suffrage for working males over the age of 21 (excluding female workers) • Equal size electoral districts • Voting by secret ballot • An end to the need for a property qualification for members of parliament • Payment of members of Parliament • Annual elections for Parliament[2]

Chartist Petition

The Charter became a petition with 1 1/4 million signatures, was presented to the House of Commons in 1839, and was rejected by a vote of 235 to 46. Soon afterward some of the Chartist leaders were arrested and some supporters killed.[3]

A second petition with 3 million signatures was rejected by Parliament in 1842, and a third petition rejected in 1848.[4]

The Hon [i.e. Honorable] John Basson Humffray, First Commissioner of Mines - of Victoria, pastel on brown paper by Thomas Flintoff, 10 August 1859. State Library of Victoria (H325)

Chartism and the Ballarat Reform League

The Ballarat Reform League was parallel in its aims and put forward many of the ideals of Chartism. The League demanded the abolition of the licence fees, and an immediate change in the administration of the gold fields.[5]

Chartists on the Victorian Goldfields

The following are believed to have been involved with the Chartist movement:

George Black - Alfred Crowe - Robert Booley - John Cathie - George Cumming[6] - Stephen Cumming[7] - Gavin Duffy - William Denovan - Alfred Grove[8] - George Holyoake - Henry Holyoake[9] - J.B. Humffray[10] - Thomas Kennedy[11] - Henry Nicholls - W.R. Taylor at Bendigo was also a Chartist,[12] - George Thomson

Also See

Chartism in 19th Century Britain by Isobel Dowling

Education

References

  1. Corfield, J.,Wickham, D., & Gervasoni, C. The Eureka Encyclopaedia, Ballarat Heritage Services, 2004.
  2. http://www.spiritofeureka.org/index.php/policies/chartism, accessed 13 Febraury 2015.
  3. Corfield, J.,Wickham, D., & Gervasoni, C. The Eureka Encyclopaedia, Ballarat Heritage Services, 2004.
  4. Corfield, J.,Wickham, D., & Gervasoni, C. The Eureka Encyclopaedia, Ballarat Heritage Services, 2004.
  5. Wickham, D., Gervasoni, C. & Phillipson, W., Eureka Research Directory, Ballarat Heritage Services, 1999.
  6. Corfield, J.,Wickham, D., & Gervasoni, C. The Eureka Encyclopaedia, Ballarat Heritage Services, 2004.
  7. Corfield, J.,Wickham, D., & Gervasoni, C. The Eureka Encyclopaedia, Ballarat Heritage Services, 2004.
  8. Corfield, J.,Wickham, D., & Gervasoni, C. The Eureka Encyclopaedia, Ballarat Heritage Services, 2004.
  9. Corfield, J.,Wickham, D., & Gervasoni, C. The Eureka Encyclopaedia, Ballarat Heritage Services, 2004.
  10. Corfield, J.,Wickham, D., & Gervasoni, C. The Eureka Encyclopaedia, Ballarat Heritage Services, 2004.
  11. Corfield, J.,Wickham, D., & Gervasoni, C. The Eureka Encyclopaedia, Ballarat Heritage Services, 2004.
  12. Corfield, J.,Wickham, D., & Gervasoni, C. The Eureka Encyclopaedia, Ballarat Heritage Services, 2004.