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What Were the Causes of the Unrest in England in the Early 19th Century Essay

There were many issues in the 19th century that caused chaos, people weren’t happy with they way that England was being ruled during that period in time. As a result of this riots and protests broke out all over England. The people were protesting about the political and economical issues that they found in the way parliament ruled England.

16th August 1819. The Peterloo Massacre. Peterloo gained its name by combining the place the battle happen, St Peters Field, and the previous battle’s name ‘Waterloo’. Peter-loo. Originally people had gathered at St Peter’s Field to listen to a well known speaker Henry Hunt to share his ideas on reforms such as giving all the men a right to vote and ending bribery and fraud at elections. At the massacre the soldier that came in killed 11 people and wounded over 500. As consequences from this the government passed 6 laws in December 1819.

1. Ban meetings of more than 50 people 2. Ban marching and weapon practice 3. Punish insults to the Church and government 4. Increase a tax on newspapers 5. Allow magistrates to search homes for weapons and documents without permission 6. Make it faster to take people to court and punish them. The Luddites. The Luddites were machine-breakers, so called after a mythical leader, General Ludd. In 1811-16 textile workers in the east midlands, south Lancashire, and west Yorkshire met secretly in public houses or on the moors, took oaths. They smashed the machinery of mill-owners who refused what they demanded. When trade unions were illegal, Luddism may be recognised as bargaining by riot: frame-breaking in the east midlands was an attempt to bully factory employees. Eventually the Luddite bands were tracked down and the presumed leaders were executed or transported. 1811-1812. Captain Swing and Ned Ludd. Before the invention of factory machines, spinning and weaving were skilled jobs which people could do at home. The new machines in textile factories in Lancashire, Nottingham and Yorkshire fewer, lower paid and unskilled workers. In 1811 many letters were sent to employers in textile factories. These letters looked like this:-

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Sir, Information has just been given that you are a holder if those detestable shearing-frames and I was asked by my men to write to you and give fair warning to pull them down. If they are not taken down by the end of the week I shall send 300 men to destroy it. Signed Ned Ludd

Many of these letters were sent and many machines were destroyed. The letters were signed ‘Ned Ludd’ or ‘Captain Swing’ as a false name to protect the identity of desperate workers who carried out their threats.

23rd February 1820. The Cato Street conspiracy. The Cato Street conspiracy gained its name by the fact that the main conspirators were arrested on ‘Cato Street’. A group of men all got together to attach the government in attempt to get revenge on the government for ‘Peterloo’. I think there were many reasons why there would be plots against the Government in 1820. The reasons could be different laws being introduced; the solders were losing their jobs and couldn’t get new ones, finally certain food prices were increasing with the tax. Later on Arthur Thistlewood, the main conspirator, was arrested whilst trying to invade on a government meeting. After that Arthur was hanged, drawn and quarter along with 10 other men on the 1st May 1820. Thistlewood and the others were the last to be punished in this way in Britain.

Before the 1830’s in Britain only certain people could vote, these people were men, the results could take up to three weeks to be known, the men had to vote in public and the voting would take place on a platform called ‘husting’ in an atmosphere of a drunken crowd.

Britain in the 1830’s, there were many protests in the 1830’s; these were towards making Britain fairer. In 1830-1831 there were many protest marches in Scotland. The marchers were protesting at the unfair way in which the country was run. They then passed ‘The First Reform Act’.

1832. The First Reform Act. In 1830 the recently elected Government of the Whigs or Liberals led by Earl Grey introduced the reform bill. It was opposed by the Conservatives (The Tory Party) but most people supported the bill. The new law was called ‘the Reform Act of 1932’. The law was one step closer to making Britain a more democratic country.

The chartists were a group of people that were trying to pass the ‘Charter’ through parliament. They were mainly workers that didn’t own their own property. The chartists had only one aim, to achieve the charter. The Charter was a document the contained six points that the chartists wanted parliament to pass. The six points:- • Every man over 21 who is not a criminal or insane should be allowed to vote • Voting should be done in secret

• You do not have to be rich or own property to become an MP • All MPs should be paid for doing there jobs • All voting areas should be the same size • Elections should be held every year Later in 1900 five out of the six points had been achieved. The only one that hadn’t was ‘Elections should be held every year.’

Throughout the 19th century and late 18th century hundreds of workers lost their jobs. Many people were afraid of not providing for their family, their family starving to death and being homeless. The cause of this was machinery being introduced into the factories and onto farms.

In conclusion to this essay, I don’t think there was one main cause to the unrest in Britain in the 19th century, think there were many causes. There were many political issues that caused to the protests in the country, all the protests and historical events followed onto each other by the consistent problem of the English people not liking the way Britain was ruled and run. These protests were due to economical reasons, the fear of loosing their job and starving.

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