Friday, May 22, 2009

Tai-Pan: People's Charter and the Chartist Movement

Culum spends most of the book being disparaging of his father because Culum is a devoted Chartist. He feels that his father is trying to be too much like an "aristo", rather than championing the fight for rights for the working class.

This certainly would not have been an attractive attitude in Dirk's eyes. Dirk was working actively to pull his entire family out of poverty, and give them the status of the moneyed class. As a student, Culum was idealistic and prone to espousing noble causes.

The Chartist Movement in Great Britain was based on the People's Charter, which had six main points:
  1. Votes for all men over 21
  2. Equal electoral districts
  3. Secret ballots
  4. Salaries for Members of Parliament
  5. Annual general elections
  6. End of the property ownership requirement for Members of Parliament
Culum hoped to use the resources of the Noble House to further the Noble Cause. That turned out not to happen. (Which you'll discover if you read Gai-jin or Noble House, both sequels to Tai-pan.)

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