Peterloo was the massacre that led to a new democratic era | Richard J Evans

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The brutal attack on peaceful Manchester protesters 200 years ago generated a backlash that helped extend the franchise

Two hundred years ago, on 16 August 1819, the event we’ve come to know as the Peterloo massacre took place, as a public meeting on St Peter’s Fields in Manchester was violently broken up by troops acting on the orders of the local magistrates. The meeting had been called as part of a wider movement to demand parliamentary representation for the rapidly growing industrial city of Manchester, which had no MP at the time.

Related: ‘Several lives lost’: note reveals early details of Peterloo massacre

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