Category Archives: Chartism: Historiography

Popular Literature

  Ian Haywood The Revolution in Popular Literature: Print, Politics and the People, 1790-1860 (Cambridge Studies in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture, Cambridge University Press), 2009 332pp., £22.99 paper, ISBN 978-0-521-10349-7 Originally published in 2004 and justly well received and now … Continue reading

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Chartism and Poetry

  Mike Sanders The Poetry of Chartism: Aesthetics, Politics, History (Cambridge Studies in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture, Cambridge University Press), 2009 300pp., £50 hard, ISBN 978-0-521-89918-5 Literature played a central role in the political as well as the cultural development … Continue reading

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Two more Chartist biographies

  David Shaw: John James Bezer, Chartists and John Arnott, National Charter Association, (Lulu), 2008, 165pp, £7.84, paper, ISBN 978-1-4092-2526-3 It really has been a bumper year for biographies of leading Chartists with Paul Pickering’s study of Feargus O’Connor, Stephen … Continue reading

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Two more Chartist biographies!

  Stephen Roberts The Chartist Prisoners: The Radical Lives of Thomas Cooper (1805-1892) and Arthur O’Neill (1819-1896), (Peter Lang), 2008 The publication of Paul Pickering’s biography of Feargus O’Connor earlier this year has been followed by an important study of … Continue reading

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Feargus O’Connor: A political life

  Paul A. Pickering Feargus O’Connor: A political life, (Merlin Press), 2008, ISBN978-0-85036-561-0  The publication of Paul Pickering’s biography of Feargus O’Connor is an important event for all those who study Chartism.  Given his central position in the movement and … Continue reading

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Revisiting Chartist Historiography: Constitutionalism, Patriotism and ‘force’

On Patriotism, the ‘Constitutional Idiom’ and Chartist rhetoric The language of patriotism and constitutionalism runs through all Chartist rhetoric. It has led to a broadening of the historiographical debate on the nature of the movement. The notion of the ‘freeborn … Continue reading

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Revisiting Chartist Historiography: On Ethnicity

Some of the earliest histories of the movement and studies of the working class mentioned the issues of Irish immigrants’ relations with Chartism. Gammage[1] and Julius West[2] provided a few reference to an Irish immigrant presence in Chartism, mainly on … Continue reading

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Revisiting Chartist Historiography: On Gender

Unlike class, the issues of gender and women’s role in Chartism have traditionally been of marginal importance to historians of the movement. Historical definitions of class and community have often been so dominantly male that they have failed to see … Continue reading

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Revisiting Chartist Historiography: On Class

Until recently, few writers have questioned the definition of Chartism as a class movement. The language of class is to be found in all three of the main kinds of historical writing about Chartism: accounts by participants, by mainstream historians … Continue reading

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Revisiting Chartist Historiography: On Sources

  It is always necessary for historians to return to the primary sources they use to construct their interpretations of the past[1]. This is especially the case with autobiographies of ordinary people, an essential source for Chartism. This is a … Continue reading

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Chartism: a Question of Interpretation 6

Turn and turn again Chartism, in this analysis, was a populist political movement of ‘the people’ rather than an economic ‘class’ movement. ‘Class’, it appears, has fallen from favour. Revisionist historians have become increasingly suspicious of the priority previous historians … Continue reading

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Chartism: a Question of Interpretation 5

  A ‘linguistic turn’: considering Stedman Jones? Stedman Jones sought to understand what he saw as the essence of Chartism though a study of Chartist language divorced, as he puts it, from its ‘social inferences’. He argues that the interpretative … Continue reading

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Chartism: a Question of Interpretation 4

Class, Politics and Language 1980-1996 Marxist historians sought to ‘rescue’ their key working-class movement from the fragmentation and, by implication belittling of localism. They produced an impressive defence of their position especially through the writings of Edward and especially Dorothy … Continue reading

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Chartism: A Question of Interpretation 3

  Biographies and local studies 1940-1980 The general history of Chartism began to be fleshed out after 1939 with the development of two new lines of enquiry, biographies and local studies. The publication of David William’s study of John Frost … Continue reading

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Chartism: a Question of Interpretation 2

  The growth of labour history 1880-1940 By the 1880s political and social interpretations of Chartism had been linked by most British historians. This fitted well with the dominant ‘Whig’ interpretation of history[1]. British history was, according to this philosophy, … Continue reading

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