The Tolpuddle Martyrs – Pride in the fight for social justice.

Tolpuddle Martyrs

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In 19th century Britain it was illegal to organise in order to gain better working conditions and pay. In the 1830s the industrial revolution had created a surplus of workers which had resulted to wages being lowered to starvation level.
In Tolpuddle, a small village in Dorset, a group of farm labourers formed a collective to argue for fair pay. They refused to work for the reduced rates.
Six of them were arrested and charged with organising. They were sentenced to seven years deportation to Australia.
There was a public outcry, a petition signed by 800,000 and a march on London.
It was the first successful protest.
The sentences were commuted. All but one (with a previous criminal record) were released.

It is right to remember that our rights and freedoms come at a price. Our unions had to be fought for. The establishment gives neither wealth nor power freely and just as readily takes it back given a chance.

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4 thoughts on “The Tolpuddle Martyrs – Pride in the fight for social justice.

  1. Lessons like this need to be taught and relearned, Opher. Our rights and freedoms are taken for granted along with our democratic institutions and labor unions. You are so right – if we are not vigilant, we’ll lose what we won by bloodshed and agony.

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