Maj J Cartwright.png
Maj J Cartwright.png
The Legislative Rights 1777.png
The Legislative Rights 1777.png


The Chartist movement is seen as starting with the publication of 'The People's Charter' in 1838 , but many of its components were of longstanding, both in the form of political and trade union organisations, and in the principles that it became fundamentally associated with: 
Universal male suffrage
Annual Parliaments 
Secret ballot
Equal electoral districts
Payment for MPs
The abolition of property qualifications for Parliamentary candidates
Each of these can be found together in a pamphlet, published by Major John Cartwright in his The Legislative Rights of the Commonalty Vindicated, or Take your Choice! (London, 1777). The setting out of these principles in the London Working Men's pamphlet 'The People's Charter' (1838) gave the growing movement both a manifesto and an identity.

Cartwright (1740-1824) was a leading figure in movements for Parliamentary reform from the 1770s until his death, and he stuck to his principles throughout his life becoming, if anything, more radical later in life as the government proved increasingly intransigent.  He founded the Society for Constitutional Information in 1780, which became a major organisation in the 1790s reform movement; and was the instigator of the Hampden reform clubs in 1812, which fed into many of the post war popular movements.  He fought campaigns to be elected to Parliament on many occasions, and was unsuccessful every time. At the age of 80,  in 1820, he was found guilty of sedition and fined £100 He was a country gentleman and ex-naval officer.