Episode link - https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m001hx7n
My rating - A-
The chartists were a social movement in England that ran from around the 1830s to the late 1860s. It was a mass movement in search of political reform that would rebalance power in favour of the masses. As such it can be described as a social movement.
Gatherings of millions of people would come together. People started their own newspapers and presses, named their children after the movement.
It’s demands were:
- Equal representation in parliament based on equally sized constituencies
- Removal of the requirement for parlimentarians to be property owners
- Members of parliament to be given a salary
- Annual elections to parliament
At the time these reforms were not taken on, and the movement considered to be a failure, but over time most of these demands have indeed been met.
I didn’t particularly like the episode, nor was I terribly engaged by the experts, but I’m still rating this episode very highly.
This episode filled in a critical piece of English social history for me that I’d been largely unaware of, and also helped me reason about why the United Kingdom may have avoided a revolution of the kind that swept through different continental countries at around the same time.
I’d listened my way through the inestimable revolutions podcast and had always wondered what was it about the UK that enabled them to avoid that outcome, and the answer potentially lies here with the Chartist movement.
Had any movement been likely to be the spark of that revolution it was this one. The state responded by making accommodations to their demands, particularly Robert Peel. Against the interested of his own Conservative Party he introduced reforms that while not going nearly any way towards the full demands of the chartists, we’re able to show that the system was in principle reformable.
Other revolutions invariably took place in the face of total intransigence by the state.
This episode helped me think about why such events at not have taken hold in the UK.
If you want to dig into in our time episodes more there is a fantastic site that allows you to explore the archive in all sorts of ways: https://genmon.github.io/braggoscope/.
Classifications from OpenAI:
- social movements - sociology 303
- political reform - political science 320
- chartist movement - european history 270
- english social history - history 940
- media analysis - media studies 070
- podcast review - communication 380.1