Why Was The Trade Union Movement Influential In The Start Of Chartism?


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Richard Marsden answered
Trade Union activity was a further cause of the extension of organised working-class pressure. The Combination Acts had banned unions between 1799 and 1824. However, these Acts were not that effective in eliminating the Trade Unions. The Combination Acts were repealed bur trade union power was effectively taken away as the Whig government resurrected an ancient law stating that conspiracy was a criminal offence. Between 1829 and 1834, a number of trade unions were set up. For example, in 1834, the Grand National Consolidated Trade Union (GNCTU) was set up by Robert Owen. However, its attempt to unite all different men into one Trade Union failed. In April of the same year, the incident involving the Tolpuddle Martyrs scared many away form the TU movement. Six agricultural workers were condemned to transportation to Australia for life, but, due to a huge protest of 30 thousand men, the six labourers were pardoned. The general struggle to defend union rights carried many workers into Chartism.

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