Thisassignment will analysewhat Chartism was and why it failed. Firstly, we will consider what Chartism was, secondly we will focus on two of the six main reasons that Chartism failed, these will includethe lack of middle class support and the radical nature of the Chartist claims although the Disunited Members and Leader, the mid Victorian boom and the loyalty of the army and police force to the government at this time were also significant factors. Lastly we will conclude our findings by tying all the information together to answer what Chartism was and why it failed.
Chartism grew from the disappointment of the working class with the outcome of the Great Reform Act of 1832(Evans, 2000, pp. 28-30), which was seen as a failure as the working class believed the limited amount of change was too minimal, and the majority still could not vote, there for it was essentially a cry for help from the working class. (www.educationforum.co.uk) Firstly we will consider the Claims made by the chartist movement as they were arguably a considerable influence in the decline of support and Chartism’s eventual collapse, this was mainly due to, too many demands at the same time. The charter made an argument for a vote for every man, 21 years and over of sound mind, the ballot to protect the voter, no property qualification for members of Parliament which would enable the constituencies to return the man of their choice, whether rich or poor, payment of the constituency members to allow them to continue representing without loss of earnings, equal constituencies making sure of the same amount of representation for the same number of electors and annual elections, to prevent bribery and intimidation in government (Lynch, 2008, p. 175).
Secondly, the charter was aimed at the working class people, however the middle classes were comfortable with what they already had, they already had members in government, land and limited or no deprivation. Due to this a lack of middle class support grew (Evans, 2000, p. 83) due to this the funding for the chartist movement declined as well as this was generally provided by the higher classes. Another reason the middle class removed their support was due to the violent protests led by FeargusO’Conner who thought that peaceful negotiations after the failure of the first charter were not working (Lang, 1999). After 1848, the Chartists had tried every avenue open to them, from petitions to strikes and economic boycotts and revolution and all had failed.
In the 1850s, the Chartists developed a sophisticated political programme, but they failed to come up with a strategy that could deliver it. Many Chartists eventually drifted into single-issue politics or the Liberal Party in an attempt to further their beliefs and gain the support of the middle and working classes, while others gave up altogether(Roberts, www.bbc.co.uk, 2011). In conclusion Chartism failed as the middle class did not support the cause, because they already had seats in government and comfortable lives. After trying many avenues the Chartists finally gave up on their goals and Chartism started to fail, its failure was due topoor co-ordination, lack of leaders, radical aims, lack of middle class support, the Victorian boom and the loyalty of the army and police force to the government during this time.
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