What a minister needed to succeed in a political career was, therefore, not the confidence of the House of Commons but the confidence of the king.
On the Democracy of the United States and the Bourgeoisie of France (1838) | G. W. M. Reynolds
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.
Battle Song of the Conspirators (1853) | James Bronterre O’Brien
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 […]
Delight in Freedom (1835) | Charles Cole
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.
Liberty, Equality, Fraternity (1875) | William Jones
This pro-democracy poem titled ‘Liberty, Equality, Fraternity’ was written by William Jones in 1875 and published in the socialist People’s Advocate newspaper.
Monarchy vs Republic (1848) | François-Vincent Raspail
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.
“A Rascal … but rich”: Karl Marx and G. W. M. Reynolds | Stephen Basdeo
“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.
A Call to the People (1850) | Anonymous
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.
Adapting Hegel: Helen Macfarlane’s Writings for the Democratic Review (1849) | 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.”
A Democratic Lyric (1850) | Tyrtaeus
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.
Degradation of Toil (1835) | Charles Cole
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.
Once as the Oak: A Pro-Democracy Poem (1835) | Charles Cole
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.
We Are Winning Now! (1839) | Anonymous
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.
My Heart is in the Battlefield | “W.”
‘My Heart is in the Battlefield’ was first written in November 1839 and has been newly-transcribed for Reynolds’s News! Subscribe now for more 19th century short texts!
The Glorious Fourth of July | Anonymous
This poem from 1849 celebrates American Independence on the 4 July 1776. It was originally published in the Democratic Review
Cheer up! Cheer up! Ye Chartist Boys! | Anonymous
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 | “R”
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 the Democracy (1839) | H. Vincent
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.
Is there yet spirit in England? (1839) | Anonymous
The following poem was written anonymously and published in Hugh Williams’s National Songs and Poetical Pieces (1839). Its sympathies are with the struggle for democracy and the emerging Chartist movement.
Liberty’s Address to the Welsh | Thomas Jenkins
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 Rise of Democracy: The Passage of the Reform Act (1867) | Stephen Basdeo
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.
George W.M. Reynolds’s Italian Chartist Republic | Stephen Basdeo
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.