Democracy – The long and often bloody fight for freedom – The Swing Riots

Another step on the road.

Opher's World

Democracy – The long and often bloody fight for freedom – The Swing Riots

Swing riot
Named after the infamous Captain Swing who was said to have organised them, the Swing Riots were a more militant attack against mechanisation in the early nineteenth century.
The advent of mechanisation, such as the threshing machines, had reduced the need for labour. Because of the surplus of labour the bosses had seized the opportunity to reduce wages down to subsistence levels. People were starving and desperate with poor wages and unemployment and no welfare.
Unlike the peaceful Tolpuddle martyrs who came a few years later the workers of Kent organised in a more militant manner, threatened the landowners, burnt barns and threshing machines and demanded a fair wage. The riots spread through Kent and the South of England.
Eventually the landowners relented and raised wages.
But two thousand arrests were made…

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4 thoughts on “Democracy – The long and often bloody fight for freedom – The Swing Riots

  1. Human history is not pretty, Opher. The real tragedy is that peaceful protests are largely ineffective. History teaches us that if you want to change a system based upon the greed of the few, violence is the most effective course of action.

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