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Six Acts

Six Acts, 1819. Repressive measures to deal with the radical reform agitation which culminated in Peterloo. The Acts (a)prohibited most meetings of over 50 people; (b)gave magistrates powers to search private houses for arms; (c)prohibited drilling and military training by civilians; (d)strengthened the laws against blasphemous and seditious libel; (e)limited the right of an accused to adjournment of trial to prepare his defence; (f )increased the stamp duty on newspapers and cheap pamphlets to 4 pence, thus hitting the radical press. However, the decline of popular radicalism after 1820 was as much due to improved economic conditions as to the Acts.

John F. C. Harrison

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