English History: The Chartists 1839

Objects of the London Democratic Association

Source: The Peel Web.

First:- the Objects of the Democratic Association are, to avail itself of every opportunity in the progress of society, for practically establishing the principles of Social, Political and Universal Equality.

Second:- To this end, they desire to unite the unrepresented of all classes into one bond of fraternity, for the attainment of Universal Suffrage: this Association being convinced that, until the proletarian classes are fully and faithfully represented, justice in legislation will never be rendered unto them.

Third:- To obtain, in addition to the extension of the Suffrage to every adult male: that the country be divided, according to the population, into equal electoral districts. That the elections of the Legislative Assembly to be taken annually: the Legislators to receive wages of attendance: and the only qualification required, to be the confidence of the electors ...

Fourth:- To devise every possible means and to make every exertion to remove those oppressive, odious, and unjust enactments that prevent the free circulation of thought through the medium of an untaxed and honest press.

Fifth:- To procure the total and unqualified repeal of the infamous New Poor Law Act, and a restoration of the spirit of the 43rd Elizabeth [the 1601 Poor Law] with such improvements as the circumstances of the country may require

Six:- To promote the abridgement of the hours of labour in factories and workshops, and the total abolition of infant labour altogether. Even in the present artificial state of society no adult person should be required to work more than eight hours per day, especially while so many thousands are without employment at all.

Seven:- To support, as circumstances may determine, by all available means, every rational opposition made by working men against the combination and tyranny of capitalists, wherever the latter shall seek to reduce the wages of labour, extend the hours of toil, or institute proceedings against the labourer, the character of which proceedings in the estimation of the association shall be deemed vexatious and oppressive.

Eight:- To promote public instruction and the diffusion of sound political knowledge.

And finally, the great object, end, and aim, of this association is the destruction of inequality, and the establishment of general happiness.