THE TRIUMPH of CHARTISM
The GENERAL ELECTION 1918
For the first time. . . All Men over 21 were entitled to vote for Parliament. . . and one third of women too! There were nearly 14 million new voters and 8½m were women. . .
Introducing the Representation of the People Bill in Parliament, the Home Secretary claimed:
“War by all classes of our countrymen has brought us nearer together... It has made it, I think, impossible that ever again .... there should be a revival of the old class feeling ..... I think I need say no more to justify this extension of the franchise.”
Times were changing. February 1917 saw collapse of the Tsar’s regime in Russia. The Bolsheviks (Communists) seized power that Autumn and Russia ceased to be an ally against Germany. Elites across Europe shuddered. The Austro-Hungarian crown caved in to nationalist risings. The Kaiser faced revolution in the streets of Berlin. Armistice on 11 November brought cessation of war in western Europe. The Kaiser abdicated, hunger and flu raged.
The people of Newport went to the Polls on 14 December 1918, but vote-counting did not start until 28 December - to give time for the men in khaki to cast their votes.
Aware of how the coalfield miners had voted and apprehensive of the service men, the South Wales Argus announced on 18 December:
"In all quarters of the globe the tide of unrest is rising. It is as inevitable as the rising tide in the Newport river."
On Saturday 27 October 2018, one hundred years since suffrage for some women was achieved, the Chartist Convention will be held at John Frost School Newport.
6 The Chartist Legacy: The 1918 Election
Editors: Les James and David Mayer
Supporting editorial team: David Osmond, Ray Stroud, Muriel Anderson, Peter Strong
Contact CHARTISM e-MAG: firstname.lastname@example.org
Students at John Frost School Newport