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The Peterloo Massacre You need to be able to: Describe what happened. Explain the reasons why this event took place.

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Presentation on theme: "The Peterloo Massacre You need to be able to: Describe what happened. Explain the reasons why this event took place."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Peterloo Massacre You need to be able to: Describe what happened. Explain the reasons why this event took place.

2 To find out about what happened during the Peterloo Massacre, you have a mystery to solve! - Look carefully at the evidence you have been given. - Place the evidence under the relevant headings on the next page. - Think carefully about what the pictures tell you about what happened. - Once you have pieced the events together, be prepared to explain what happened to the rest of the class. The Peterloo Massacre

3 When did the Peterloo Massacre take place? 16 August 1819

4 Who was involved? In March 1819, Joseph Johnson, John Knight and James Wroe formed the Manchester Patriotic Union Society. All the leading radicals in Manchester joined the organisation. The main aim of this new organisation was parliamentary reform and during the summer of 1819 it was decided to invite Major Cartwright, Henry Orator Hunt and Richard Carlile to speak at a public meeting in Manchester. Local magistrates and the Military.

5 Why did it happen? In the early 1800s, just 2% of the British population had the vote. So, on 16 August 1819, 60,000 peaceful protesters gathered on St Peter's Fields in Manchester to demand the right to elect their own MPs.

6 What plans and preparations were made beforehand? 16 August 1819 was a glorious summer's day, and groups of people poured into Manchester, determined to enjoy themselves on a day out. The meeting went ahead, attended by 50,000 to 60,000 people. It was peaceful but noisy; since the crowd consisted of families, it seems clear that there was no preconceived intention of violence. The local magistrates were concerned that such a substantial gathering of reformers might end in a riot. The magistrates therefore decided to arrange for a large number of soldiers to be in Manchester on the day of the meeting.


8 What actually happened during the Peterloo Massacre? Manchester's ten magistrates, under chairman William Hulton thought that the meeting could be the start of a revolution. They tried to disperse crowd, but did not read the Riot Act, so the magistrates called in the military. The meeting at St Peter's Field, was to be addressed by Henry Hunt. However, 20 minutes into the meeting, the Yeomanry Cavalry of Manchester charged through the crowd to the stage and arrested Hunt along with others that were present. The demonstration ended when local militia on horseback charged the protesters and cut them down with sabres, leaving 11 dead and many injured.

9 The Manchester Yeomanry arrived first. They were poorly trained, consisted mainly of middle-class shopkeepers and tradesmen, who may have been drunk. These men went about their job with great enthusiasm and charged into the crowd. Sabres swinging, regardless of the women and children caught beneath their horses' hooves, they rode through the crowd. Eventually the 15th Regiment of Hussars arrived and they managed to disperse the crowd.

10 Samuel Bamford was a radical who was at Peterloo. Here he describes what happened when the militia arrived: ‘“Stand fast,” I said, “they are riding upon us; stand fast”. And there was a general cry in our quarter of “Stand fast.” The cavalry were in confusion: they evidently could not, with all the weight of man and horse, penetrate that compact mass of human beings and their sabres were plied to hew a way through naked held-up hands and defenceless heads; and then chopped limbs and wound-gaping skulls were seen; and groans and cries were mingled with the din of that horrid confusion.’


12 What were the consequences of the Peterloo Massacre? The result was eleven dead including two women, and about 400 wounded. One man had his nose severed from his face. Rochdale millowner Thomas Chadwick, who was at the scene, described the massacre as: "an inhuman outrage committed on an unarmed, peaceful assembly." In December1819 the Government decided that a revolution was very likely and passed the Six Acts in order to clamp down on working class discontent and the Radicals. Historians have argued that Peterloo was very influential in gaining ordinary people the vote. They also say that it led to the rise of the Chartists, who were a group of working class men wanting democratic reform, including the vote.

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