Chartism was a mass movement for democratic rights that developed in the second half of the 1830s following the Great Reform Act of 1832. The Chartists were so called because of the six points of their Charter:
1. A vote for every male over 21.
2. A ballot held in secret.
3. No property qualification.
4. Payment of MPs.
5. Equal constituencies.
6. Annual parliaments.
Chartism dominated much of the British political landscape during the second half of the 1830s and 1840s, it withered away during the 1850s but not before it served to inspire another generation of reformers in the second half of the 19th century.
- Newspapers – for the contemporary researcher perhaps the greatest legacy of Chartism remains its newspapers, every variety and shade of opinion can be detected in its various publications. We hold originals, reproduction copies and microfilm editions of the following:
The Poor Man’s Guardian, 1831-1835
The Chartist Circular, 1839-1842
The Western Vindicator, 1839-1842
The Democratic Review, 1849-1850
The Red Republican, 1850-1851
Notes to the People, 1851-1852
- Henry Vincent papers – a leading Chartist, Vincent’s letters cover the period from 1837 to late 1842, a particularly volatile period in Chartist history. As well as Vincent’s own copies of the Western Vindicator, of which he was Editor, there is a small collection of other Chartist and radical newspapers which he collected.
- John Frost and Bronterre O’Brien correspondence – although this dates from the 1850s and 1860s
- Pamphlets – mainly 20th century, ref 320.44.
We have a small collection of “classic” Chartist history books.