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The failure of Chartism was due to improved economical conditions rather than the movement's own lack of unity

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Introduction

The failure of Chartism was due to improved economical conditions rather than the movement's own lack of unity. How is this true to a degree? 20Marks The given statement is true to a point that improved working conditions defeated the cause for petitioning of the working classes however as highlighted above, I think the many Chartists leaders caused divisions in the movement thus preventing it to act as a unit. I do agree with the given statement that the Chartism movement was one developed through economic motives and one present in a society of industrial change but there are other reasons which add to its failure as a movement such as this lack of unity. These other reasons combined are equally important in explaining this failure but I believe a movement with an economical backbone would fail to be supported in a society where economical conditions are on the up. In the late 1830's when the first petition was put together the country especially in the East of Lancashire such as Liverpool was experiencing rapid industrialisation thus high unemployment and much an economic slump, this affected the lives of ordinary working people which lead to Chartism being strongest in areas like these. ...read more.

Middle

This took place in the South of Wales after the first petition was rejected, other reasons for the uprising included high unemployment and very poor working conditions. Here leading members such as William Lovett and Feargus O'Connor were arrested in what was a resounding victory for the authorities. The historian Robert Stewart claimed "Chartism's fatal weakness was that it had neither parliamentary strength nor the means of gaining it" With no support in parliament the charter didn't stand a chance as here it lacked 'a voice'. This I believe was an important factor as if the government would have been indecisive then Chartism may have reached a different level as support in parliament would have given it 'a voice'. Also if the government didn't introduce reforms then economical discontent would have remained and so Chartism also. With this lack of support from the upper classes in parliament came a lack of support from the middle classes aswel. Here violent campaigning methods meant middle classes would refuse to support it. This was evident in the 1842 plug riots which took place in the summer months in Staffordshire, Yorkshire and Cheshire. ...read more.

Conclusion

Many chartist organisations also meant regional differences as in some areas economical discontent was greater than others therefore Chartism stronger there. It remained strongest in the North but weakest in the South. There were few examples of coordination of strategy and different areas interpreted the aims differently. The north, in favour with O'Connor was for physical force whilst areas such as Birmingham were closely linked with moral force. With Chartism differing in many places the government were easily able to control the agendas expected. To conclude, I agree with the given statement as I think Chartism was fuelled by the economic discontent in the country at the time and when this got better through the clever use of reforms then Chartism started to fizzle away. However there are other reasons which contributed to the fall of Chartism of which are listed above such as the government acting strongly during this period but it remains that when the economy was going badly and unemployment was high then people would campaign against it as they would have reason to do so. Taking these economic problems away through the use of reforms then you also take away the origins of Chartism which is what eventually occurred. Anek Kasbia 1 ...read more.

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