Introduction
in Popular virtue
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This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book charts the development of the movement against its intellectual culture, and with that the changing nature of its politicisation of everyday life. It focuses on the Radical print culture of the 1820s and 1830s to revise the notion that the early Chartists were austere and moralistic. The book considers the itinerant activism of Henry Vincent in the west of England between 1837 and 1839 as the central case study to establish how early Chartist activists integrated plebeian culture and everyday life into the movement. It looks at the impact of repression and imprisonment between 1839 and 1843 on Chartist leaders, and argues that this experience was the impetus for moral improvement to increasingly come to the forefront of the movement.

Popular virtue

Continuity and change in Radical moral politics, 1820– 70

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