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Chartist Rebellion

source http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/timelines/england/vic_chartism.shtml

A People's Charter was devised demanding democratic rights, and a huge petition was consequently presented to parliament in 1839; it was largely drafted by William Lovett, son of a Cornish master mariner and his friends in the London Working Men's Association. It made six demands: annual parliaments; universal male suffrage, vote by secret ballot, equal electoral districts, an end to property qualifications for MPs and the introduction of salaries for ministers, but it was rejected by a vote of 235 to 46. The protesters marched on a prison in Newport to demand the release of their leaders, but government troops opened fire, killing 24 and wounding another 40.

The Chartist Movement continued to agitate and expand and a second petition of three million signatures was rejected by parliament in 1842; the rejection of the third petition in 1848 (a year of revolutions across Europe), which had over 5,000,000 signatures marked the end the movement - and although Chartism continued for a further decade, the movement eventually slipped into decline.

Ironically, in 1999, all but the annual election of MPs are accepted tenets of the British constitution.

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Edited June 7, 2006 1:15 pm by HowardT (diff)