Chartism was an inclusive cultural community which gave voice to many people in society who were denied any opinion or influence. The quote from the speech: ‘Honourable gentlemen…..working class only’ highlights the division in the society and as the speaker pointed out ‘establish equality’ gives hope to the working class that by fighting for the approval of the Charter, they will achieve a fairer society and will be able take their own initiative. Eileen Yeo argued that the working class should be able to shape their own politics and future (E.Yeo, The Open University Resource booklet 1, 2013, pg. 52).
The quote from the speech: ‘I am glad to meet the brave men and fair women of York’ highlights the importance of women’s role in Chartist society. Men had a greater role in the society but the women’s role was just as important. Although Chartism was an inclusive society, women were not included in the goals of the Charter to have a right to vote, but they were contributing in many ways such as signing petitions, taking part in demonstration and publishing manifestos (Thompson, The Open University Resource booklet 1, 2013, pg. 53). An inclusive cultural community had a great effect on the support of Chartism but it wasn’t the most dominant one.
The national political movement was the most important benefactor of Chartism.
In the extracts from the speech ‘the poor crushed beneath the Alpine mountain weight of taxation’ demolish dukedom and crush the church by law established’ the speaker highlights the two main issues of popular radicalism which developed during previous decades. Chartism gained huge public support by offering people a political solution to their problems and distress (Stedman, The Open University, Resource booklet 1, 2013, pg51). The quote from the speech ‘fair day’s wages for a fair day’s work’ explains that people refused charity; they demanded a decent wage and a political reform instead of food rioting. Phrases from a primary source ‘we require justice before charity and every man is born free, and God has given equal rights and liberties’ (Morning Chronicle, The Open University resource booklet 1, 2013, pg48) highlights that political reform was the most important part of Chartist’s cause. The extract clearly states that people were demanding political reform which would benefit all classes, not just the rich and were not satisfied with economic hand-outs. The speaker suggests that if ‘the People’s Charter becomes law of the land’ it will bring ‘political equality, social comfort and domestic happiness’.
It is clear that the speaker addressed all three benefactors of Chartist support. From all the evidence gathered and analysed in this essay, it seems that the national political movement is most strongly stressed and a democratic reform is the foundation for the social and economic change. People supported Chartism for varies reasons; some searching for answers to economic problems, some sought a fairer society through cultural participation but most importantly they wanted political equality. The meeting itself took place in support of the Charter to become the ‘law of the land’. The speaker emphasised that the introduction of the Charter ‘will elevate to enjoyment of political equality, social comfort, and domestic happiness’. The speaker advocates that the people’s economic and social demands will only be achieved by a political reform which will bring ‘a whole world with the golden era of universal peace, happiness and wealth’.
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