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Holyoake, George Jacob

Holyoake, George Jacob (1817–1906). Secularist, Liberal journalist, and co-operator. Born in Birmingham, the son of an artisan, he entered radical politics as an Owenite socialist lecturer in 1840 and gained early notoriety when imprisoned for blasphemy in 1842–3. He edited a number of papers in support of socialism, atheism, and republicanism, notably the Reasoner (1846–61), and was last secretary of the chartist National Charter Association in 1852. In the 1850s he rallied the scattered forces of radical free thought under the name of secularism, but was a poor public speaker and lost the leadership to Charles Bradlaugh in the 1860s. His influence came as a writer, journalist, and political lobbyist. In later life he was closely associated with propaganda for the Co-operative movement, and advocated co-partnership schemes, supported Gladstonian Liberalism, and in 1899 was first chairman of the Rationalist Press Association.

Edward Royle

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