Reform League  

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"The whole of the railings of Hyde Park were torn down by a lawless mob, led on by the Reform League, on July 23, 1866, under pretence of holding a reform meeting in the Park. Mob law prevailed. The police stationed inside were brutally beaten with stones and brick- bats, and more than 40 were injured for life. The Conservative Government were cowed. Yet a previous Whig Government through Sir George Grey had forbad a reform meeting to be held on this very ground ; they stopped Garibaldi meetings there. On the 10th April, 1848, Lord Russell's Government closed the gates, and kept them with guards of cavalry."-- (1873) by John Murray


"The State, the power most representing the right reason of the nation, and most worthy, therefore, of ruling,--of exercising, when circumstances require it, authority over us all,--is for Mr. Carlyle the aristocracy. For Mr. Lowe, it is the middle class with its incomparable Parliament. For the Reform League, it is the working class, the class with 'the brightest powers of sympathy and readiest powers of action.'" --Culture and Anarchy (1869) by Matthew Arnold

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The Reform League was established in 1865 to press for manhood suffrage and the ballot in Great Britain. It collaborated with the more moderate and middle class Reform Union and gave strong support to the abortive Reform Bill 1866 and the successful Reform Act 1867. It developed into a formidable force of agitation at the very heart of the country.




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