For six months after Frost’s arrest in November 1839, there was little done beyond the organisation of protests and help for the victims. Then came a revival, first in Scotland — the Scottish Chartists were now reorganising their movement on lines of their own as an independent unity — and later among the local bodies in the English towns, mainly in London and the North. In July 1840 a Conference in Manchester, dominated by O’Connor’s followers, founded the National Charter Association, which set out, more definitely than any previous body, to become the party of the working class. But there were also a number of breakaways: Christian Chartist societies were founded in Bath, Birmingham, and other towns; Thomas Cooper, the poet, founded the Shakespearian Association of Leicester Chartists. In the spring of 1841 William Lovett, now completely estranged from the O’Connorites, founded the National Association of the United Kingdom for Promoting the Political and Social Improvement of the People, which speedily became little more than a society for promoting a system of national education. But these organisations were all unimportant: only the N.C.A. had any mass following. O’Connor, now in prison, was busy discrediting Lovett and O’Brien; and on his release he immediately assumed the leadership of the N.C.A.
KeywordsTrade Union Executive Council Social Improvement Universal Suffrage Friendly Society
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