The protest was based around religion. A group of Catholics were attempting to get rid of a Protestant King who persecuted Catholics with anti-Catholic laws.  Their plan was to assassinate him and the government using gunpowder stored beneath the House of Lords.  Their downfall was that they sent a letter to Lord Monteagle, a Catholic Member of Parliament, warning him not to attend the meeting.  He handed the letter to the authorities and Guy Fawkes was caught red-handed preparing the gunpowder.  He was taken to the Tower of London and tortured into revealing the names of his fellow conspirators.  They were then hanged, drawn and quartered and their heads were displayed on stakes around London.  The plot represented a very serious threat agains the government because, quite simply, it involved blowing them up.  They had planned to convert King James' daughter to Catholicism and put her on the throne, so it would have changed the national religion of Britain.


The cause of the protest was political.  Members of the lower classes had congregated in St. Peter's Field in Manchester, waiting to hear Henry Hunt speak.  They demanded the vote as only landowners had the vote in this period.  Their numbers rose to over 60,000 and the magistrates panicked, ordering the yeomanry to arrest Henry Hunt.  A riot ensued that left 11 people dead and 400 injured.  No action was taken against the magistrates and Henry Hunt was given a sentence of two and a half years in prison


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