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Title: Scottish Chartism and its economic background
Author: Wright, L. C.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1951
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In 1838 Lovett drafted what was called the 'People's Charter' and this was sponsored by the L.W.M.A. Almost simultaneously a similar document called the National Petition was issued by the Birmingham Political Union. That the demands and aims of both groups were alike was not coincidence. They had independently made a concise re-statement of earlier Radical ideas - ideas which always had been the stock in trade of the reformer. Only the presentation was new - the familiar 'Six Points'. Here they are. (1) Manhood suffrage. (2) Vote by ballot. (3) Annual Parliaments. (4) Abolition of the property qualification of MPs. (5) Payment of members. (6) Equal electoral districts. [This last was not put forward by the Birmingham Political Union]. The heady old wine of Radicalism proved very much to the public taste when served up in new bottles. Clubs and associations throughout the country were formed to advocate the 'Six Points'. Soon it became a national movement and by 1839 was strong enough to hold a Convention in London - a sort of 'Parliament of the Industrious Classes' as suggested by uwen in 1834. There was to be no guillotine and Tricolour about this meeting. Great care was taken to see that it was a legal assembly and that by coming together the members did not contravene any existing legislation. What was behind all this? Well, at least it would provide a rallying point for various shades of radical opinion and enable a programme of political action to be drawn up, Of course the more violent elemental hoped that somehow or other this Convention might yet become the de facto Government of the country. This Convention marks the real start of Chartism. It went through many vicissitudesm often becoming very violent in character, and suffered a major defeat in 1848. But it was a complex movement full of inherent contradictions. As the movement in Scotland is examined, something of its real nature, its virtues and failings, should emerge. Chartism as such petered out in a welter of froth and frustration; yet four of those 'Six Points' are at the very foundations of modern society. This is not coincidence. Chartism set in motion forces the full effects of which have still to be felt.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available