‘Brethren in Bondage’: Chartists, O’Connellites, Young Irelanders and the 1848 Uprising

  • Christine Kinealy


The 1840s was a decade of intense political activity within the United Kingdom, ranging from single-issue campaigns such as the Anti-Corn Law League to the wide-ranging Chartist movement, which desired manhood suffrage but was concerned also with trade union rights, working conditions, working-class education and land reform.1 Three of the most influential mass movements were led by Irishmen — Chartism (founded in Britain in 1838 and led by Feargus O’Connor), the Loyal National Repeal Association (formed in Ireland by Daniel O’Connell in 1840) and the temperance movement (founded in Preston in 1832 by Joseph Livesey, but reinvigorated by Father Mathew in Ireland in 1838).2 Each of these groups had an impact that extended beyond the United Kingdom, with the former two being regarded by European radicals as models for building mass political movements among the politically excluded. The moderate anti-Corn Law movement copied the organisation of the Irish Repeal Association.3 Yet, while the Anti-Corn Law League achieved its objective in 1846, neither Chartism nor the repeal movement survived their confrontation with the British government in 1848, a year of revolutions throughout Europe.


British Government Irish Radical Repeal Movement Irish People Universal Suffrage 
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© Fintan Lane 2005

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  • Christine Kinealy

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