Skip to main content
Select Source:

Riot Act

Riot Act, 1715. The Riot Act (1 Geo. I s. 2 c. 5) was hastily passed in July 1715 by a Whig Parliament to deal with the threat of Jacobite insurrection. It provided that, if twelve or more persons, tumultuously assembled, refused to disperse within one hour of a magistrate reading a proclamation, they would be guilty of a felony and could face the death penalty. Persons assisting the dispersal were indemnified. But a secondary motive was to clarify the law of riot, which the case of Dammaree in 1710 had shown to be defective. Daniel Dammaree, a London waterman, had been involved in the Sacheverell riots and had helped to destroy dissenting meeting houses. He was charged with constructive treason in levying war against the queen. Though found guilty, he had been pardoned, since the interpretation seemed strained. But if the Act was intended to stiffen magistrates, it was a doubtful success. The procedure which became known as ‘reading the Riot Act’ was difficult to carry out and the proffered indemnities offered little protection: magistrates were reluctant to read the proclamation and troops even more reluctant to open fire. The proclamation was read for the last time in 1919 but the Act was not repealed until 1967.

J. A. Cannon

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Riot Act." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Encyclopedia.com. 26 May. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Riot Act." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Encyclopedia.com. (May 26, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/riot-act

"Riot Act." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Retrieved May 26, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/riot-act

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Riot Act

Riot Act an Act passed by the British government in 1715 (in the wake of the Jacobite rebellion of that year) and repealed in 1967, designed to prevent civil disorder. The Act made it a felony for an assembly of more than twelve people to refuse to disperse after being ordered to do so and having been read a specified portion of the Act by lawful authority.
read the Riot Act formally read the specified portion of the act as a notification to an assembly to disperse.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Riot Act." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. 26 May. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Riot Act." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. (May 26, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/riot-act

"Riot Act." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Retrieved May 26, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/riot-act

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.