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The Working Class Movement

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Elisabetta Paoli

on 29 November 2013

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Transcript of The Working Class Movement


Parliamentary Reforms
1830 The Whigs with Earl Grey win the elections ...
The Working Class Movement
Trade Unions
The New Poor Law
Parliamentary Reforms
The Labour Party
Vote given to Adult Males with property
Elimination of "Rotten Boroughs"
Redistribution of seats from many boroughs to the growing towns and cities
1832 Great Reform Act
The Labouring Poor and The New Poor Law 1834
1830s and 1840s industrial depression
Growing number of people asked for poor relief according to the Poor Law Act of 1601
1834 Parliament passed Poor Law Amendment Act
Workhouses (similar to prisons) were set up for poor people to live and work in.
Workers wanted the repeal of the New Poor Law
Fundamental institution of working class self defense = THE TRADE UNIONS

CHARTISM 1838-1848
universal suffrage
secret ballots
no property qualificatrions for MPs
payment of MPs
constituencies of equal size
annual parliaments
The People's Charter
Labouring Masses converged into giant movement for :
1837 London Working Men's Association drew up a charter of demands
Chartist era rested on foundation of working class consciousness
Movement held together by universal discontent of men
Chartism and the "Hungry Forties"
1837-1842 economic recession with strikes and demonstrations
1839 the Charter presented to Parliament : rejected
Newport rising
1842 second Charter presented to Parliament :rejected .
the Plug Riots
1848 petition presented to Parliament. Chartist march to Parliament banned. Petition rejected.
Chartism failed and movement died out, HOWEVER:
5 of the six points were later adopted.
1890s Socialist ideas spread among working class
1893 Keir Herdie founded the Independent Labour Party
After the defeat in the 1895 elections, Herdie decided to join forces with the Trade Unions
1900: The Labour Representation Committee (LRC)
After 1906 elections LRC and working class candidates of Liberal Party formed: the LABOUR PARTY
The Labour Party and the trade Unions
TRADE UNIONS = Fundamental institution of working class self-defence
1870s - MODEL UNIONS: skilled craftsmen accepted by Government and employers
1890s NEW UNIONS for unskilled workers
for better wages and working conditions (matchgirl workers, London Dock Workers)
Trade Unions
1. PM Disreali (conservative) with 2nd Reform bill extended franchise to working classes in towns (1867).
2. Agricultural labourers and miners left unfranchised. High numbers of miners still considered too revolutionary
3. PM Gladstone (liberal) with 3rd Reform Bill extended household suffrage to agricultural labourers and miners
The Second and Third Reform Bills: 1867 and 1884
Liberals in power 1906-1915
1. 1906 elections: Liberals in power and LABOUR PARTY in Parliament

2. Social reforms: Old Age Pension, Miners' 8hrs, Health Insurance, Town Plannng Act, Local Government

3. and then ...
1918 Franchise Act: vote to women over 30
1928 franchise to women over 21
1969 voting age from 21 to 18

Fear of spreading of Revolutionary ideals
poor considered potential Jacobins
public meetings prohibited
1799-80 PM Pitt with "Combination Acts" rendered Trade Unions (existing already in
18th Century) illegal
Tory Repression after French Rev.
not only a laissez-faire policy but State interference against labour

1811-1813 Luddites smashed their machines without specific programme of political reform or revolution
Trade Unions : after 1815 specific political ideology and program
"did not simply seek to return to an idealized tradition but envisaged a society technically progressive"
1819 Mass meeting of cotton workers to demand manhood suffrage at Peterloo
dispersed by charge of cavalry =
appointment of Peel to Home Office = end of system of repression
1824 Repeal of Combination Acts
1829 civilian Police force (Bobbies)
Tory Reforms
Full transcript