Monday, 13 July 2015

Chartism: Localities, Spaces and Places, The Midlands and the South


Just Published

Chartism Vol. 3 front cover

This, the third part of the series, looks at Chartism from the grassroots. Although I originally intended to deal with the local roots of Chartism in one book, the scale of the project necessitated dividing it in two. Although there is inevitably overlap with Chartism: Rise and Demise, these books focus on how Chartism played out regionally and locally reinforcing the point that local priorities and political agendas did not always correspond with those put forward nationally and that, although the national leadership developed principles and policies, operational details were frequently left to local leaders and organisations. Is it better to see Chartism as a network of semi-autonomous political organisations over which national control was limited rather than a unified political movement? Should we see Chartism as a national debate over the exclusion of the working-classes not simply from the parliamentary franchise but from playing any role in determining the future direction of society, the economy and cultural aspirations? The answer is neither one nor the other but both. The first volume covers southern England and the Midlands. The opening chapter examines Chartism in its local and regional context and how it related to different places and spaces, issues explored in greater detail in the remainder of the book. Chapter 2 examines Chartism in London and the South. Chapter 3 looks at East Anglia, an area of agricultural labour where industrial employment was based largely on the products of farming. Economic and social conditions were not conducive to the development of a mass regional movement. Dealing with the Midlands in one chapter would simply have been too large and consequently I divided it so that Chapter 4 examines the largely agricultural counties while Chapter 5 focuses on those counties where manufacturing and mining were predominant. A Postscript brings the first volume to a conclusion. The second volume looks at northern England covering Yorkshire and the North-East in Chapter 6, Cheshire, Lancashire and the North-West in Chapter 7 and at Scotland, Wales and Ireland respectively in Chapter 8, 9 and 10. It also includes the synoptic concluding chapter.

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