The inscriptions on this plate read ‘God is our Guide’ and ‘This is our Charter.’ Chartism was a working class movement for political reform in Britain between 1838 and 1848. The movement urged parliament to adopt three great petitions, the best known being that of 1848, which gained six million signatures (it was later found that some of these may have been faked). Some of the key demands that the group rallied for were parliamentary reforms, the payment of MP’s, and the opening of democracy to all (all men). Thousands rallied for their beliefs and hundreds went to prison. Two of the party’s key leaders were William Lovett, who would have preferred the movement to be a peaceful one, and Fergus O’Connor, who took a more forceful approach. These men’s faces are depicted on the plate, along with those of Julian Harney, Henry Hetherington, Thomas Cooper and William Chadwick. During the century after the end of the Chartist movement, many of their demands were passed into law.
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