"The Roots of Chartism are Partly Political and Partly Economic."

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Chartism are Partly Political and Partly Economic

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Chartism was a national, political, eco­nomic and social movement, associated with working class radicalism during the mid 19th century. The move­ment was named after Peoples’ charter of 1838. The six main aims of the movement were-

(i) A vote for every man over 21,

(ii) Secret ballots,

(iii) No property qualification for MPs,

(iv) Salaries for MPs,

(v) Equal Constituencies and

(vi) Annual Parliaments.

The economic causes of the movement were- Firstly:- Industrial and agricultural workers disliked the new conditions of the 19th century factory discipline, low wages, periodic unemployment and high prices.

Secondly:- There was a series of fiscal crises in 1830s. Those who were in power from 1830 to 1841 were weak in economic strategy and left a huge deficit on leaving office. They made no attempt on reforming banking or the currency. ‘

Thirdly:- Taxation fell mainly on the working class in indirect taxation. At least 16% of real wages were consumed by taxes. The abolition of income tax in 1816 worsened the situation. The real value of wages was diminished and bad harvests made things worse. The political causes were:

Firstly:- The working classes had given massive sup­port to the middle class campaign for the 1832 Reform Act because they had been drawn by the possibility of the franchise or legislation to help them. The working class was dissatisfied because the 1932 Act did not enfranchise them.

Secondly:- Subsequent Whig reforms came as a bitter disappointment and actually hurt the working man. Middle class representation led to middle class legislation, so chartists sought a political solution to their economic and social problems.

Thirdly:- Early trades union failed. Legislation in 1824 and 1825 repealed the Combination Acts of 1799 and 1800 and unions were again allowed, subject to many restric­tions. Many unions had been established after 1825 but failed to bargain effectively with employers.

Submitted by : Dr. Scarlett, Category : Economics, Tag : Economics