Description

This map details the encampment position of over 15,000 troops called to London in June 1780 in order to put down the Gordon Riots. Use of military force to deal with protest and insurrection in Georgian Britain was fraught with controversy. Until the early 19th century policing was arranged on an amateur basis, with civil order largely maintained by a complex system of watchmen, volunteers and militia. This ‘citizen army’ was considered to be an essential part of the British libertarian tradition, free from any intervention by military or government forces. Although the army was only deployed as a last resort, in practice the inadequacy of policing generally meant that this occurred surprisingly often. Troops engaged in such duties were assisted by the ‘Riot Act’, which permitted soldiers to use force to disperse crowds of 12 people or more once a magistrate had read a declaration ordering them to leave.

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