The Failure of Chartism
For the chartist to have had a focus, they would all have to have had the same issues, and all held equal support for all 6 parts of the people’s charter, the paper behind the chartist movement. This was not the case; in many instances the people would only support something when it suited them, a knife and fork issue, this was the cause for the collapse in the movement.
In source one it does say how people wanted the charter or rather universal suffrage, which does involve all 6 points, this can arguably seen as some focus, yet the source goes describes how there was a lack of focus upon the issues, the fact that it is a knife and fork issue, only really cared for when it is needed, means that there would be a dramatic lack of focus, crucial in the failure.
People had different issues, some were against stamp duty, the anti-corn law league, wanted repeal of the Corn Law, the 10 hour work movement wanted to reduce factory hours and the free trade movement wanted currency reformer. This was key in failure as they never raised any support at one time so the government did not worry as small uprisings were easy to deal with.
This is the case in source three as Asa Briggs states a proper appreciation of regional and local diversity is needed, which is fundamental in the understanding that it agrees and blames regional and local diversity in its failure; there is obvious deviation, different reasons, and lack of focus as they can’t want things for different needs and be focused in their movement.
In source two, the Charter is used against those who support it, the government recognised that the Chartist were whimsical in their support for the charter. At this time they had introduced the New Poor Law, which was more oppressing then was ever told by the government, it served rate payers and not paupers, and it regarded poverty as a fault of the poor. The government were able to bring in the poor law relatively unnoticed as they played up to the charter, which attracted the masses attention, and in true chartist fashion there was a sudden rise in support for the charter. This is an example of how unfocused the movement was, only a few were solidly supporting the movement constantly, and with this there is no way the movement could ever have an impact.
With source four, the first real disagreement with the statement, it has a valid argument that the chartist movement cannot be reduced to a knife and fork issue, as there was indeed...