The London Working Men’s Association was established in 1836 by cabinet maker William Lovett, publisher Henry Hetherington and printers John Cleave and James Watson. Besides circulating information for the good of the working classes, the association wanted 'to seek by every legal means to place all classes of society in possession of their equal, political, and social rights'. The Association discussed the ideas that would later form the central document of the Chartist movement: The People’s Charter. This was written by William Lovett, with the help of Francis Place, in 1838 and detailed the six reforms that comprised the core of Chartist doctrine.
This minute book of the London Working Men’s Association from 18th October 1836 contains demands for 'Universal Suffrage, the protection of the Ballot, Annual Parliaments, Equal representation, and no property qualification for members'. These are five of the six points that would be published two years later in The People’s Charter. The additional point in the 1838 Charter is 'Payment of Members' (of Parliament).
- Article by:
- Right to vote
Reformists saw the 1832 Reform Act merely as a starting point. This book records the meeting of a radical group of artisans in 14 Tavistock Street, London, who proved the focus for the Chartists – the first mass political movement in England