Examine two prints published in 1819 following The Peterloo Massacre and gain insight into an early 19th-century protest for political reform.
On August 16, 1819, a peaceful crowd of between 60,000 and 80,000 workers gathered in St. Peter’s Fields, Manchester, England, to voice their demands for political reform. Poor economic conditions and the lack of parliamentary representation in the years following the Battle of Waterloo led many textile workers who labored under dreadful conditions in the mills of north-west England, to march into the city to hear various speakers including the well-known radical orator, Henry Hunt. He represented the new political radicalism that was growing in the region, and the city magistrates were eager to quash it before serious problems arose. Shortly after the demonstrators had gathered, the magistrates ordered the Manchester and Salford Yeomanry to arrest Hunt and others who were accompanying him. As they charged into the crowd to carry out this order, they knocked down a woman and killed her child. The mass of demonstrators continued to present a threat, and the 15th Hussars were sent to disperse them along with the yeomanry. With sabers drawn, they charged into the crowd creating massive confusion resulting in the deaths of 18 people.
Exhibit Dates: Aug 1 -31, 2019
Exhibit Time: John Hay Library Hours
Exhibit Location: Second Floor Landing, John Hay Library, 20 Prospect Street, Providence