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The 1842 Chartist Petition

Hansard, Vol. 62 (1842) columns 1373-1381

Chartism was a mass movement that demanded the reform of parliament. The second Chartist Petition was presented to Parliament by Thomas Slingsby Duncombe MP on 2 May 1842. It had been signed by 3,315,752 persons from all over the United Kingdom and was the National Charter Association's petition - the work of Feargus O'Connor. Most of the signatures came from Yorkshire and Lancashire. What follows is an abstract of the full text of the Petition.


  1. Constitutional: the Petition said that
  1. Economic: here a bitter, socialistic element comes to the fore.

C. Legislative: the Petition

The Petition set out grievances and the remedies the petitioners wanted, but leaves the questions:

a) What did the Chartists want?

b) What was Chartism?

Both points are very much unanswered: the Petition's scope goes far beyond the Six Points. By 1842, Chartism as a single movement had fragmented.

The parliamentary debate on the petition took place on 5 May, 1842. The Charter itself was not the point of the debate: this centred on the question as to whether to hear the Chartists at the Bar of the House or not. The Six Points were never debated, but the debate does reveal the government's attitude to Chartism.

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Last modified 4 March, 2016

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