In June 1836 William Lovett, Henry Hetherington, John Cleave and James Watson formed the London Working Men's Association (LMWA). At one meeting in 1838 the leaders of the LMWA drew up a Charter of political demands. When supporters of parliamentary reform held a convention the following year, Lovett was chosen as the leader of the group that were now known as the Chartists.
In 1841 the Chartists decided to put up eight candidates in the General Election. Together they achieved 692 votes and none of them were elected. In 1847 they did rather better when nine candidates won 2,848 votes. The Chartist leader, Feargus O'Connor, obtained 1,257 of these votes and defeated the Whig minister, Sir John Cam Hobhouse.
The Chartists also put up candidates in the 1852 and 1857 General Elections. By this time the Chartist movement was in decline and the five candidates were unsuccessful.