Feargus Edward OConnor
O’Connor, Feargus Edward
Born July 18, 1796 (?), in Connorville, County Cork, Ireland; died Aug. 30, 1855, in London. A leader of the Chartist movement in Great Britain; an orator and publicist.
O’Connor joined the Irish national liberation movement in the 1820’s and upheld radical positions. He was the founder (1837) and editor in chief of the Chartist newspaper Northern Star and a leader of the Chartist Great Northern Union, which was organized in May 1838. At the Chartist convention of 1839, O’Connor opposed W. Lovett and advocated revolutionary methods of struggle for the People’s Charter, arguing for the principle of “physical force.” He was twice prosecuted and imprisoned, in 1840 and 1843.
O’Connor fought against attempts of bourgeois radicals and free traders to gain control over the Chartist movement. A member of the executive committee of the National Charter Association from 1843, O’Connor combined anticapitalist propaganda and the defense of working-class interests with the advocacy of a petit bourgeois utopia that would return workers to the land. To this end he founded the National Land Company in 1845. In 1847, O’Connor became the first representative of the proletariat in the British Parliament.
In April 1848, during preparations for a Chartist demonstration, O’Connor showed indecisiveness and essentially called for the abandonment of revolutionary struggle. After 1848, O’Connor’s followers moved conclusively toward reformism.
WORKSThe Employer and the Employed. London, 1844.
The Trial of F. O’Connor and 58 Others. Manchester, 1848.
REFERENCESMarx, K., and F. Engels. Soch., 2nd ed., vols. 4, 7, 11 (see Index of Names).
Schlüter, H. Chartistskoe dvizhenie. Moscow, 1925. (Translated from German.)
Cole, G. D. H. Chartist Portraits. London, 1941.
L. I. GOL’MAN