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'Internal disunity was the main reason for the failure of Chartism.' To what extent do you agree with this statement?

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Introduction

'Internal disunity was the main reason for the failure of Chartism.' To what extent do you agree with this statement? By the time the petition was rejected in 1848 it can be seen that Chartism had lost its importance amongst its former supporters and to the government and thus dying out as an important political campaign movement. A big question that has remained amongst historians is the cause of this downfall of a once hugely popular movement that 'effectively raised fundamental constitutional questions in Parliament and rattled the bars of the establishment' (H.Browne). In this essay I shall discuss whether or not the internal disunity of the Chartists was the main reason for their failure or was it as a result of many other factors including the following; no general middles-class support for cross-class alliance, power of the state that enabled them to make mass arrests, exhaustion of constitutional means to reform, the strategy and tactics used by the chartists and the effective abandonment of the charter by the majority after 1848. The chartist movement was one that had a tendency to break up due to arguments amongst the key leader figures in the organisation. Some believe that this internal disunity showed that the chartists were not politically nor intellectually mature enough to obtain and use the vote. ...read more.

Middle

With the help of the middle classes the chartists could have gained more attention from the government; as they would have been fearful of the results of the combinations of the working and middle classes and thus may have paid more attention to the ploys of the chartists. The chartist received much opposition and hostility from those within the House of Commons and the Government, who were mainly the landed interest as they believed the Chartists to be a potential threat to public order and who should be 'contained' many had no intention of conceding in anyway to there demands or even accepting there was a case. This in it's self can be seen as a reason why the chartist campaign failed, facing such opposition as they clearly did, with no way into the house of commons how were the chartist going to produce the changes they wished for. Nothing that the chartists were campaigning for was in the mood of the political times of those who had 'stake in the country.' It almost seems that it would be impossible for the Chartists to get the changes they wanted and reforms they believed were needed until England's rulers had accepted the need for a more democratic government, as without the cross-class alliance and virtually no support in the Houses of Commons reform through pressure form the Chartists alone looked very unlikely to be beneficial. ...read more.

Conclusion

The chartist believed strongly that improvements and reforms to working class life couldn't come without the vote, so when changes occurred such as the Mines Act 1842, the abolition of the Poor Law Commission in 1847 and the 'Ten Hour' Act in 1847, it become clear that reform was possible without the vote, such reforms many believed came as result of agitation to make issues clear to the government. In conclusion it should be said that to say 'Internal disunity' was the sole reason for the failure of the chartist is untrue, although the lack of clear leadership between differing types of chartist some believing in 'moral force' some in 'physical force' caused agreements and wasted internal disagreements these problems can't be seen as the main causes to the failure. The sheer power of the Government, Judiciary and army stood in the face of the Chartists and to overcome this and the attitudes of many at this time would have been an almighty task for any political organisation. The chartist were a group that put pressure on the government and made many in the society open their eyes to some of the possible changes that should take place yet it seemed that until society and those within the political system felt change was needed little could be done, thus resulting in the abandonment by the majority of the charter after 1848. ...read more.

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