Chartism, the mass movement for democratic rights, dominated British domestic politics in the late 1830s and 1840s. It mobilised over three million supporters at its height. Few modern European social movements, certainly in Britain, have captured the attention of posterity to quite the extent it has done. Encompassing moments of great drama, it is one of the very rare points in British history where it is legitimate to speculate how close the country came to revolution. It is also pivotal to debates around continuity and change in Victorian Britain, gender, language and identity. Chartism: A New History is the only book to offer in-depth coverage of the entire chronological spread (1838-58) of this pivotal movement and to consider its rich and varied history in full. Based throughout on original research (including newly discovered material) this is a vivid and compelling narrative of a movement which mobilised three million people at its height. The author deftly intertwines analysis and narrative, interspersing his chapters with short ‘Chartist Lives’, relating the intimate and personal to the realm of the social and political. This book will become essential reading for anyone with an interest in early Victorian Britain, specialists, students and general readers alike.
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