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The Gordon Riots: 1780

On 2 June 1789 an eccentric English peer in his late twenties, Lord George Gordon, leads a march through London to the house of commons to protest against a proposed bill bringing in a small measure of Catholic emancipation (it is mainly concerned with property rights). His gesture excites the religious bigotry of the London mob. When parliament makes no response, unruly elements begin setting fire to Catholic property.

The situation escalates into six days of riot and looting, which end only when troops are brought in to take control. Gordon is tried on a charge of high treason, but he is acquitted when no evidence is found that he encouraged or approved of the violence.


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