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Lovett, William

Lovett, William (1800–77). Chartist. Born in Newlyn, Lovett migrated in 1821 to London, where he became a cabinet-maker and soon immersed himself in radical reform movements, such as Owenite co-operation, the National Union of the Working Classes, and the National Political Union. In 1836 he founded the London Working Men's Association, from which emerged the chartist movement. Helped by Francis Place and J. A. Roebuck, Lovett drafted the People's Charter, and from 1838 was a national chartist leader, though he soon quarrelled with O'Connor, whom he denounced as ‘the great I am’. Lovett was arrested in 1839 following riots in Birmingham and spent a year in gaol. On his release he concentrated on ‘knowledge chartism’, emphasizing education, self-help, and alliance with the middle class. But from 1842 he became increasingly marginalized from chartism; and in his later years turned to teaching, writing, and the support of liberal-radical causes, including temperance, international peace, and the abolition of slavery.

John F. C. Harrison

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