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Human Rights

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glossary document index

A complete list of all the supporting documents for the time periods between 1215 and 1945.

1760 - 1815

Aspiring for popular rights

Timeline of some of the major events and milestones during the years 1760 to 1815. Read the background section to put these into context.

1763
Action is instigated against John Wilkes MP for the publication of a seditious libel against the government in The North Briton.
1766
Widespread food riots in East Anglia, the midlands, central Southern England and the West Country.
1768-70
John Wilkes returns from 4 years in exile and is elected MP for Middlesex.
1771
The Corporation of London campaigned for the freedom of parliamentary reporting in newspapers.
1776
American Declaration of Independence.
1776
Major Cartwright's Take Your Choice publication advocates universal suffrage and annual parliaments.
1776
John Wilkes seeks leave to bring in a bill to introduce a 'just and equal' parliament.
1779
Formation of the 'Yorkshire Association'; in favour of moderate parliamentary reform for which it petitioned parliament the following year.
1779
Spinners break into Arkwright's spinning-house near Chorley in Lancashire and set fire to it.
1783
William Pitt the Younger introduces a limited reform bill but it is defeated in the House of Commons.
1785
William Pitt the Younger introduces a bill to remove the representation of thirty-six rotten boroughs and to extend the electoral franchise to more individuals; the bill is defeated in the House of Commons.
1789
French Revolution
1791-92
Thomas Paine's Rights of Man is published in two parts.
1792
London Corresponding Society established. Similar societies are formed across Britain around the same time.
1792
Mary Wollstonecraft's Vindication of the Rights of Women is published.
1793
Britain is at war with France.
1793-4
Leaders of the British Convention at Edinburgh are arrested, tried and sentenced. Radical leaders in England are arrested but found not guilty of high treason
1797
British naval mutinies.
1799
Combination Acts outlaw trade unions.
1799
Corresponding societies are made illegal.
1802
Textile workers in Wiltshire: woollen workers destroyed several mills.
1802
Health and Morals of Apprentices Act: the first 'Factory Act'
1803
Execution of Colonel Despard for high treason.
1807
The Abolition of Slave Trade Act outlaws the British Atlantic slave trade.
1811-16
Luddite attacks in several midland and northern counties; mainly Nottinghamshire, Yorkshire and Lancashire
1812
Killing of Spencer Perceval, Prime Minister.
1812
The London Hampden Club is formed to promote the cause of parliamentary reform.
1815
War with France ends: mass demobilisation of armed forces.