The Peterloo Revolution

1812 Words 8 Pages
It was around 1799 that the French Revolution would finally come to an end. For Britain, the elites were strongly opposed to the Revolution’s ideologies - Liberty, equality, fraternity – afraid they would lose their political power. There was, unavoidably, a pressure for change: in this period, only middle and upper class men could vote. The press was under the censorship of the time leading to the government creating the “Taxes of Knowledge” - taxes and duties that would be imposed upon newspapers – designed to “limit the growth, circulation, and distribution of the press in general and of the radical press in particular” (Negrine 1989) so press would never talk negative things about the system.
Workers would face up to eighteen hours of
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Because of the poor economy of the country, the government created high taxes and tariffs, including the Corn Laws. Eighty million people reunited in Manchester in 1819, blaming the government for the expensive cost of food. At the time, as mentioned, the poor classes didn’t have political representation so they didn’t have a choice, only rich men could vote. During the protest, the military authorities charged into the crowd killing 15 people and injured around 300 - 700. It was called the Peterloo Massacre and it marked one of the defining moments of the nineteenth century.
“Peterloo, with its stark evidence of violent repression, was pivotal event in encouraging radical endorsements of the right of armed resistance.” (Gilmartin 1997)
This massacre showed population how repressed and censored they were, not being able to protest or have an opinion. After this episode, because of the Industrial Revolution, Britain lived times of prosperity being world’s first industrialised
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It had, as an important element, a letter written by William Lovett and Feargus O’Connor, named “The Charter”, sent to the British Government several times and for the first time in July 1839. The letter had over a million signatures and included the six main aims of the movement, principally: all men had the right to vote, secret ballot to protect the elector, no property qualification for Members of Parliament, etc. These aims weren’t initially accepted by the government leading to radical actions, like protests, pamphlets and petitions. A pioneer of radical journalism was the Chartist Northern Star, first published on 26 May

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