CHARTISM - 'A New History' by Malcolm Chase is the first book I read on the subject of political reform back in 2012 after the THA's inaugural meeting in Harrogate and I recommend it as a sound base from which to grow an overall understanding of the historic roots to our cause.
This review is from the back page of the book:-
Chartism, the mass movement for democratic rights, dominated British domestic politics in the late 1830s and 1840s. Few modern European social movements, certainly in Britain, have captured the attention of posterity to quite the extent it has done. Encompassing moments of great drama, it is one of the very rare points in British history where it is legitimate to speculate how close the country came to revolution. It is also pivotal to debates around continutity and change in Victorian Britain,gender,language and identity.
Malcolm Chase deftly analyses the scope and character of Chartism and explores the aspirations and visions of those who called themselves Chartists. His analysis extends across the whole of Britian, also to Ireland, and to issues of race and gender as well as re-evaluating established themes in Chartists studies. Thoughout, the author relates the intimate and personal to the realm of the social and political, interspersing his chapters with short 'Chartist lives' that illuminate the experience of 'grassroots' Chartists.
This is the only book to offer in-depth coverage of the entire chronological spread (1838-1858) of this pivotal movement and to consider its rich and varied history in full. Based throughout on original research (including newly discovered material), this is a vivid and compelling narrative of a movement which mobilised three million people at its height. This book will become essential reading for anyone with an interest in early Victorian Britian:specialists, students and general readers alike.