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British working-class movement for parliamentary reform. It was named after the People's Charter, a bill drafted by William Lovett (1800–1877) in 1838 that demanded universal manhood suffrage, equal electoral districts, vote by ballot, annually elected Parliaments, payment of members of Parliament, and abolition of property qualifications for membership. Born amid an economic depression, the movement rose to national importance under the leadership of Feargus O'Connor. Parliament refused to take action on three Chartist petitions presented to it, and the movement declined after 1848.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Chartism, visit Britannica.com.