Popular Protest 1812-1831

  • Created by: LewWills
  • Created on: 13-04-17 17:48

Overview of Conditions:

  • 1812 was the beggining of a period of socio-economic turmoil for Britian. War with Napoleon had forced taxation to increase, agriculture and industry were rapidly advancing, and higher prices all contributed.
  • The working classes displayed their contempt with protests and the government followed Pitt's example in enforcing repressive measures.


  • Started in Nottingham in 1811 by a group of men who were angered by the increased role of machines in factories, and they believed they would be replaced by machinery. After a disagreement with the owners, these workers rose up in violence destroying the machinery at night led by Ned Ludd.
  • Luddism spread to Yorkshire, Lancashire and Cheshire as workers feared their skills being undercut by the use of machinery.
  • Wool manufacturer William Horsfall fell victim to the Luddites as he was murdered by four of them. As a response 60 men were put on trial for Luddite crimes and 3 were hung for the murder of William Horsfall.
  • As the rioting increased, British soldiers were brought in to deal with the rioters (no police force) - repression.


Darvall's view: is that the Luddites were merely angry at their loss of livelihood and the violence was a response to this. He believes there was no attemopt to coordinate their violence over the regions or work in unison.

Palmer - Thompson: on the other hand he believes that there was potential for them to be considered a revolutionary movement as they were highly organised, and angry at the government for not taking an involvement in their affairs.

Absence of reliable evidence, most came from local magistrates or spies who had an agenda to…


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