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European History: 1600s-1800s
The Chartist Movement



The Chartist Movement
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 7 to 9
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.61

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    coalfields, moral-force, physical-force, upper-class, electoral, tactics, boiler, radical, authority, convention, military, refused, presented, violent, successful, various
     content words:    True Stories, Queen Victoria, Cornelius Brown, Chartists Fighting, Other Chartists, Chartist Movement, In June, United Kingdom, Some Chartists, Reform Act


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The Chartist Movement
By Sharon Fabian
  

1     Caption: Engraving from 1886 book, True Stories of the Reign of Queen Victoria by Cornelius Brown, "Chartists Fighting with Police"
 
2     A group of working class people in England had a new and radical idea. They wanted to vote and participate in their own government.
 
3     These people met in 1838 and created the People's Charter. This document was a statement of their six aims. These six goals were: 1) the right to vote for men over the age of twenty-one, 2) equally-sized electoral districts, 3) use of secret ballots, 4) an end to the requirement of owning property to become a member of Parliament, 5) pay for members of Parliament, and 6) yearly elections. Because of this charter, the group of people became known as the Chartists.
 
4     Some of the Chartists believed in making their point by informing the public. They used tactics like public discussions, written publications, and public meetings. Other Chartists were ready to fight for their rights. They used more violent protests and slogans like "death or glory!" So when people spoke about the Chartists, they often referred to them either as the moral-force Chartists or the physical-force Chartists.
 
5     The Chartist Movement was something new, and it frightened the upper-class landowners and the established government. "What would happen," they wondered, "if these working class people really gained a voice in the government?" Would the landowners lose their own position, their authority, and their wealth? Little did they know that the Chartist Movement was only the beginning; it was just a glimpse of things to come.

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