Labour History Review

A Chartist Singularity? Mobilizing to Promote Democratic Petitions in Britain and France, 1838-1848

Labour History Review (2013), 78, (1), 51–66.

Abstract

Attention has certainly been paid to the international dimension of the Chartist movement in the form of consideration of links that were established between some Chartists and continental exiles in Britain, but recent developments in the historiography of Chartism have suggested a number of new perspectives. It is time to reappraise the singularities of the movement in relation to its continental counterparts. Were the Chartists alone in mobilizing so many people in favour of democracy in the 1840s, bearing in mind that Chartism flourished on the eve of the European revolutions of 1848? This article looks at the convergences and the divergences between Chartism and European movements and argues that it was the depth of democratic anchorage and the scale of organized agitation (such as using petitions addressed to elected representatives) to mobilize the masses to make democratic claims in the European model that differentiates the Chartist movement from its French counterpart.

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Author details

Agnes, Benoît