New resource for A level students: Protest and Democracy 1818-1820

‘From all the inquiries we can make, there appears to be five or six dead — as many mortally wounded, and not less than 300 severely and slightly wounded. The tragic relation is much heightened from the universal conviction, that all the blood which has been spilled, has been most wantonly and unnecessarily spilled.’

Manchester Observer, 21 August 1819

In 1819, a series of mass radical meetings climaxed in a rally of 60,000 people at St Peter’s Fields, Manchester. The meeting began peacefully with flags, banners, and music; however, local magistrates feared trouble and sent in the army in the form of the Manchester Yeomanry and the regular Hussars. Reports in the press told of numerous deaths and hundreds of casualties at ‘Peterloo’, many supposedly inflicted by cavalry sabres.

The second part of our new classroom resources for A level students – Protest and Democracy 1818 to 1820 – highlights further events of the turbulent years following the Napoleonic wars. Featuring a collection of over 40 original documents, this resource focuses on events at Peterloo in Manchester and during the Cato Street conspiracy in London.  With serious unrest in Yorkshire and armed insurrections in Ireland and Scotland, for a while revolution seemed imminent.

This document collection is relevant for students and teachers following particular modules in A level history across all three main exam boards. It offers direct insights into the turmoil of the time, and can support A level History students studying the political, social and cultural aspects of 19th century British history.

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