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Today, the right of United Kingdom citizens aged 18 and over to vote in elections is taken almost for granted. However, the struggle to extend the vote in the first instance to all men lasted many years. Campaigning was hard-fought and gained momentum during the 19th century with the Chartist movement.


Find out how the long struggle for representative democracy led to the formation of the Chartist movement and eventually, in 1918, the right to vote being extended to all men


Track the dates and legislation which made fairer representation and universal manhood suffrage a reality

Further research

View material from the Parliamentary collections to take your Chartist research further

Contemporary context

Find out how the Chartists' legacy lives on through present day calls for wider representation and participation

Case Study

Learn more about Birmingham's influence on and links with the movement for parliamentary reform in the nineteenth century.

Related information

Petition of the Month

Professor Malcolm Chase writes about the significance of the Chartist petition of 1842, which, among other aims, called for widening political participation and was signed by 3.3 million people.