1839 Chartist Petition

Detail from Hansard recording presentation of Chartist petition, 1839

The Chartists' first act was to gather together signatures to a mass petition to Parliament asking for political reform. 

It was almost three miles long and contained 1,280,000 signatures from all over the country.  In some places, the number of men and women signing were counted separately, and in these areas women made up to a quarter of those signing.

The Petition was presented to Parliament by Thomas Attwood on 14 June.  On 12 July, Attwood proposed that the petition be considered, but was defeated by 235 votes to 46, and the petition was rejected.  The Chartists were furious, and rioting occurred around the country.  This included the Bull Ring Riots in Birmingham.

To read the text of the petition and an account of its presentation by Thomas Attwood, please click here.