Peterloo Massacre

Historical Context Essay

John Gardner (Anglia Ruskin University)
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On 16th August 1819 a crowd of 80,000 1 people gathered in St Peter’s Fields in Manchester at a meeting organised by Henry ‘Orator’ Hunt, a leading Parliamentary reformer, to listen to speeches demanding universal suffrage, lower taxation and better living conditions for the working classes. The speeches were never delivered as the local authorities decided that Hunt and his comrades should be arrested. Members of the manufacturing class in the uniform of the Manchester and Salford Yeomanry, aided by the Cheshire Yeomanry and the 15th Hussars - veterans of Waterloo - hacked their way through the crowd to get to Hunt, killing up to twenty people and wounding hundreds of others. 2 The aftermath of the massacre involved denunciations of the radicals by the same people who had caused…

2453 words

Citation: Gardner, John. "Peterloo Massacre". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 22 October 2004 [, accessed 30 May 2024.]

856 Peterloo Massacre 2 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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