Working-class support for Chartism

The working class were drawn to Chartism for a number of reasons:

  • Disappointment with the 1832 Reform Act: only 700,000 extra people could vote.
  • Factory legislation was a disappointment: the 1833 Factory Act failed to achieve the limit of a ten-hour working day and many workers were annoyed.
  • Bitterness towards the 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act:
    • unemployed men were treated harshly by the act
    • poverty became a crime
    • new union workhouses were being built
    • trade depression and high unemployment left many believing that Chartism was the only answer
  • Stopping trade unionism: trade unions existed but they had limited power. Working-class people thought Chartism appeared more effective.
  • Problems with trade: 1838-1848 were years of high unemployment and left people looking for an answer, so Chartism became popular.