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This colourful poster, dating from the early days of the Chartist movement, advertises a great public meeting to be held on the Sands at Carlisle on 21 May 1839. The poster promotes the speaker, Dr John Taylor, a leading Scottish Chartist and surgeon, and implores the crowd to come unarmed ‘so that their Enemies may not have an opportunity of persecuting them, and retarding the progress of Liberty’. The text continues in a menacing manner, ‘It is hoped that the Master Manufacturers will see the propriety of allowing their workpeople to attend the meeting, so that any unpleasant collision between them may be avoided.’ Posters such as this were an ideal means of mobilising popular support in favour of political reform, especially from those members of society who conventionally would have been denied the opportunity to engage in such debate.
Dr Alexander Lock discusses Magna Carta’s relationship to parliamentary reform and to radicals fighting oppressive government. Find out how this medieval peace settlement was reinvented as a potent symbol of liberty and justice.