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From Magna Carta to Universal Suffrage

Watch Genevieve explain who the Chartists were
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In the last activity, we looked at the American Declaration of Independence. You remember how the Declaration stated that all men are created equal. In this activity, we are going to look at how universal suffrage movements continued to address the principle of equality which was central to the American Declaration of Independence and, of course, to Magna Carta itself. Universal suffrage is the idea that every adult should have the right to vote in elections. This may be a right which many of us take for granted nowadays. But it is a right which people had to fight for. Well, I said fight, but the Chartists were a group who were dedicated to peaceful protest. Peace and order was their motto.
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The Chartists wanted fairness for working people and set out a list of their demands in the People’s Charter of 1838. The Chartists refer to their charter as the modern day Magna Carta. The Chartists didn’t think it right that only 18% of the adult population had the right to vote. They also found it unfair that working class people couldn’t become members of Parliament. You needed to own property if you wanted to stand for Parliament. Members of Parliament weren’t paid for their work either. So it was only really a job for the very rich. This, of course, meant that there were no working class members of Parliament. And so working people had no one to represent their interests.
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In the next activity, we’ll have a look at the demands from the Chartists’ modern-day Magna Carta.

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In this activity, we’re going to look at how Universal Suffrage movements continued to address the principle of equality which was central to the American Declaration of Independence and, of course, Magna Carta itself.
Universal Suffrage is the idea that every adult should have the right to vote in elections. This may be a right which many of us take for granted nowadays. But it is a right which people had to fight for.
What do you think about Universal Suffrage? Should everyone be given the right to vote? Should this include, for example, convicted prisoners? Please share your ideas in the comments below.
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Magna Carta

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