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Hunt, Henry

British radical political reformer who gained the nickname "Orator" Hunt for his ubiquitous speechmaking in which he advocated universal suffrage and annual parliaments. Hunt's success as an orator came to national attention when he presided over an assembly of 60,000 people demonstrating for parliamentary reform at St. Peter's Fields, Manchester (August 16, 1819). The attempts to arrest Hunt and other leaders resulted in confusion and violence; about 500 of the unarmed demonstrators were injured, and 11 were killed. The incident became known as the Peterloo Massacre. Hunt was uninjured, but the white hat he wore was staved in by a sword and became the symbol of reform. Peterloo became a potent rallying point of popular radicalism and, later, popular Liberal politics.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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