The strike for the People's Charter in 1842
No previous entire thesis or book has been devoted to a national study of the 1842 strike. This thesis is the first to examine the 1842 strike in all regions of Great Britain significantly affected, including the Northwest, Yorkshire, the East Midlands, the Potteries, the Black Country, parts of Scotland, the Merthyr district of South Wales, and London. Chartist activists in the Ashton district deliberately launched a general strike for the People's Charter in order to pre-empt a possible forced strike by the Anti-Corn Law League masters for repeal of the Corn Laws. The aim of the strike nationally, apart from amongst the miners, was overwhelmingly the enactment of the People's Charter. The political strike for the Charter had a coherent strategy and concept which was shared by the Chartist activists in all the strike regions. The strike was an attempt by Chartist activists in the localities, in the face of caution on the part of the national Chartist leadership, and after receiving news of the strike in the Manchester district, to implement the most important 'ulterior measure' of the Chartist constitutional mass platform agitation in order to pressure the Government and Parliament into enacting the Charter. It was to be a peaceable display of united public opinion which would break the nerve of the government without recourse to violence. The strike for the Charter was the highpoint, in terms of the threat posed to the state, of the Chartist mass platform agitation. The traditional radical critique of the corrupt aristocratic state inherited from the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century radical movements was articulated in the strike and was shared by the different strike regions. A working class identity was present in the strike among other multiple identities which included those of the people and nation.