The six points of the People’s Charter were:
• A vote for every man over 21.
• The secret ballot so you could vote without intimidation.
• No property qualifications for Members of Parliament (MPs), allowing any man, poor or rich to be chosen as an MP.
• Payment of Members of Parliament, allowing ordinary working men to be MPs.
• Equal constituencies to ensure the same amount of representation for the same number of electors, so that small constituencies didn’t swamp the votes of larger ones.
• Annual Parliaments - to keep MPs accountable.
We take most of these rights for granted today. But they were hard won rights; men died fighting for them. The struggles of the Chartists would shape democracy in Britain and influence politics across the world.
Text and artwork from Voices for the Vote: Shire Hall and the story of Chartism in south Wales. Reproduced by kind permission of Monmouthshire County Council/Shire Hall, Monmouth. The book costs £4.99 and can be obtained from Shire Hall Monmouth, Newport Museum or Gwent Archives