Nathan Bend1
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  • 1 University of Hertfordshire
Sanctioned by Government? The Home Office, Peterloo and the Six Acts
in Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
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The role of the Home Office in the Peterloo Massacre remains contentious. This article assesses the available evidence from the Home Office and the private correspondence of Home Secretary Viscount Sidmouth to contest E. P. Thompson’s claim that the Home Office ‘assented’ to the arrest of Henry Hunt at St Peter’s Fields. Peterloo is placed within the context of government’s response to political radicalism to show how the Tory ministry had no clear counter-radical strategy in the months leading up to the August event. The article further argues that although the Home Office may not have assented to forceful intervention on the day, the event and its aftermath were needed to justify the Six Acts which would ultimately cripple the reform movement.

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