The fact is, that America is better understood by Europeans than by its own citizens. While she is occupied in self-contemplation and self-admiration—a state of quiescent beatitude originated by amour-propre—we are in a situation which enables us to judge of her with impartiality and calmness.
The following poem was written by the radical James Bronterre O’Brien and published in place of the frontispiece in the bound volume of George Julian Harney’s short-lived magazine the Vanguard. Battle Song […]
The following poem was written by Charles Cole and originally appeared in A Poetical Address to his Grace the Duke of Wellington (1835). It has been transcribed by Stephen Basdeo.
This pro-democracy poem titled ‘Liberty, Equality, Fraternity’ was written by William Jones in 1875 and published in the socialist People’s Advocate newspaper.
There are many kinds of monarchy but there is only one kind of republic. It is the government where every one contributes to the social burdens, and has a right to share in the social advantages.
As Reynolds approached the Prime Minister to ask permission, Lord Harrowby jumped upon him in a rage — here was a lord attempting to silence the representative of the people!
“Reynolds is a rascal,” said Marx, “but a rich and able speculator. Find out what the father of communism thought about the biggest-selling novelist of the Victorian era.
The following pro-democracy hymn was written by a writer known only as “Bandiera” and was published in the Red Republican magazine, edited by George Julian Harney. It has been transcribed by Stephen Basdeo.
“Democracy, the Idea of the 19th century,” is a great and most welcome fact. This idea has revealed itself at different times, and in different ways.”
The following pro-democracy poem was written by someone writing under the pseudonym of Tyrtaeus and was published in Reynolds’s Political Instructor on 19 January 1850.
Charles Cole was one of the finest radical poets of the early nineteenth century. ‘Degradation of Toil’ was first printed in Cole’s collection of poetry in 1835.
Charles Cole was one of the finest radical poets of the early nineteenth century. ‘Once as the Oak’ was first printed in 1835 and has been transcribed by Stephen Basdeo.
The following pro-democracy song appeared in Hugh Williams’s National Songs and Poetical Pieces (1839). The identity of the author is now lost to history but their work has been newly transcribed.
This poem from 1849 celebrates American Independence on the 4 July 1776. It was originally published in the Democratic Review
The greatest and most fatal error in the annals of the world was suffering the growth and formation of an Aristocracy; it is the direst plague with which this earth is cursed, filling it with eternal bitterness.
The following song was written in 1839 after the government’s rejection of the first Chartist petition. The tone of the poem is clear: the working classes need to fight on!
The Capitalist was a socialist poem written in 1850 and printed in George Julian Harney’s Red Republican magazine. It tells of the coming day of vengeance by the working classes against the ruling class.
A Song for Democracy was written by H. Vincent and originally appeared in Williams’s National Songs in 1839. Reprinted here for the first time in nearly 200 years.
A radical song, written by Thomas Jenkins at the beginning of the Chartist movement, urging the Welsh to rise up and fight for democracy.
The Reform League organised several rallies. At one of the Reform League’s major rallies, held in Trafalgar Square and attended by old-school militant radicals, the speakers began calling on working men to organise a general strike. Another ‘monster meeting’ held in May 1867 was so large that, despite being banned by the government, the police did not dare to intervene. The prospect of violence and armed conflict was rearing its head and it was all beginning to feel like 1848 again.
What would a Chartist republic look like in practice? Very few Chartist novelists discussed this question in depth, as most of them merely shined a light on social issues of the day. G W M Reynolds, however, used the fictional Italian state of Castelcicala in The Mysteries of London as a ‘laboratory’ in which his progressive theories of government might be tested.