A new history

By Malcolm Chase


Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-6087-8
  • Pages: 432
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £18.99
  • Published Date: July 2007
  • BIC Category: Humanities / Social & cultural history, Modern History, History, United Kingdom, Great Britain, Social & cultural history, European history, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Ideologies / Radicalism, HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain, Society & social sciences / Revolutionary groups & movements


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.


1 May-September 1838: 'I have in my hand a charter - the people's charter'
Chartist lives: Abram and Elizabeth Hanson

2 October-December 1838: 'The people are up'
Chartist lives: Patrick Brewster

3 January-July 1839: 'The People's Parliament'
Chartist lives: Thomas Powel

4 July-November 1839: 'Extreme excitement and apprehension'
Chartist lives: John Watkins

5 November 1839-January 1840: After Newport
Chartist lives: Samuel Holberry

6 February 1840-December 1841: 'The Charter and nothing less'
Chartist lives: Elizabeth Neesom

7 1842: 'Toasting muffins at a volcano'
Chartist lives: Richard Pilling

8 1843-1846: Doldrums Years
Chartist lives: Ann Dawson

9 July-1846-April 1848: 'A time to make men politicians'
Chartist lives: William Cuffay

10 April 1848-1852: 'Decent revolutionaries'?
11 Chartist Lives: 'Ever present to the progressive mind'

Money, prices and wages: a note
A note on sources and further reading


Malcolm Chase was Reader in Labour History at the University of Leeds

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