(2634 words)
  • John Gardner (Anglia Ruskin University)

Historical Context Essay

The Chartist movement led the struggle of working people and the underprivileged to achieve democratic political reform in Britain from 1837 to 1855, but was most active from 1838 to 1848.

In order to understand Chartism it is important to consider the long and frustrating history of demands for political reform in Britain, and how these demands were quashed after the revolution in France in 1789. The revolution was at first welcomed by British liberals and such Whig campaigners for political reform as Charles James Fox, but the ensuing war with Britain, and then the mass executions of The Terror, played into the hands of those – especially Pitt's Tory party and the landowners – who believed that the lower sort had no …

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Gardner, John. "Chartism". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 17 September 2008
[, accessed 26 September 2016.]