Combination Acts (127 words)

Historical Context Note

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[Preliminary entry.] These Acts were passed in response to the increasing militancy and violence of industrial workers who were faced with new technologies and either unemployment or reduced wages at a time of considerable economic hardship caused by the wars with France and the continental blockade. Food prices were high, and the property-owning classes feared infection by French ideas. The Acts were intended to tidy up existing provisions against the nascent trade unions and combination by working people, and to enable the summary trial of those arrested. They had the effect of forcing combinations to work in secret, and therefore made their activities more subversive and perhaps even more effective. The acts were therefore repealed i…

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Editors. "Combination Acts". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 12 December 2007
[, accessed 19 January 2018.]

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