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Title: Popular Radicalism and the Swing Riots in Central Hampshire
Contributor(s): Kent, David  (author)
Publication Date: 1997
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Abstract: In the winter of 1830-31 the agricultural labourers of southern and eastern England showed that they would endure desperate poverty and hardship no longer. The upheaval of protest, usually referred to as the 'Swing' riots, was principally a response to low wages, inadequate poor law allowances and the labour-displacing effect of threshing-machines which took away one of the few remaining opportunities for work during the winter months. Hampshire was one of the counties most severely affected by the protest and it was the first to experience the systematic, chillingly deliberate judicial terror by which protest was repressed. Although the disturbances were principally a 'knife and fork' issue, in some places they were influenced by working-class political radicalism. The agitation for parliamentary reform was at its height and across the country some labouring people made a connection between their poverty and misgovernment. In this situation it was only to be expected that the Swing disturbances occasionally had a political dimension. Historians know a great deal about working-class political activity in the urban, industrial environment because it is so well documented but scarcely anything about its rural counterpart because the evidence is generally scattered and thin. One happy exception is the case of the villages of the Dever Valley where in 1830 the labourers' protest was given added meaning and direction by the members of the Radical and Musical Society. In the aftermath, these radicals were specially selected for persecution and most were transported to exile for their efforts to improve the lot of the pauperized labourer. The Dever Valley radicals are less well-known than the Tolpuddle martyrs but they should not be forgotten.
Publication Type: Book
Publisher: Hampshire County
Place of Publication: England
ISBN: 1859751334
Field of Research (FOR): 210305 British History
HERDC Category Description: A1 Authored Book - Scholarly
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Extent of Pages: 24
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Appears in Collections:Book

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