1865 Election Violence Mapped

After a short break, we are happy to post releasing a geographical day-by-day representation of our recent 1865 election violence tweets; the red dots appear on the day that they occurred, while the black dots represent all events over the election period:

The following map also roughly splits these into incidents (green), disturbances (red) and riots (blue):

It seems clear that election violence was both common and geographically widespread, reaching most areas of England and Wales.  The most interesting things among the dispersed events that we’ve noticed are as follows:

 

  1. Between 1 and 24 July, the 1865 General Election and its lead-up directly caused to a total of six deaths, including that of a small child
  2. There were at least 28 small-scale violent and individual incidents, including assaults, shots fired, property damage, and murder – once our data collection is complete, it’s likely there will be much more of this type of violence to report.
  3. There were at least 43 serious mass disturbances, involving large crowds, significant property damage, and multiple serious injuries.
  4. There were at least 21 full-scale riots, with giant crowds (at least several hundred, often thousands), many serious injuries, occasionally-devastating property damage, significant military/police responses, and reading of the Riot Act.
  5. Over the total period covered by our tweets (23 days), this equates to almost one English/Welsh full-scale riot per day in 1865, but in reality violence was much more concentrated.
  6. The 11th of July was the 2nd-most violent day: 11 July. 19 events of varying intensity occurred, including in Grantham, where rioting caused the destruction of the polling booth, military to be called in, Riot Act read, and a man’s death.
  7. The 12th of July was the most violent day. 22 violent events of varying intensity occurred, including in Lincoln, where the mob set fire to a barrel of tar and rolled it to a hotel where a candidate was dining, smashing the windows of the room he was dining in. One hotel owner shot at them, injuring several people.
  8. This election was (somewhat) comparable in terms of violence to the next General Election in 1868, the first held after the 2nd Reform Act expanded the electorate. That election featured at least 18 incidents (10 less than 1865), 29 disturbances (14 less than 1865), 30 riots (9 more than 1865).
  9. While smaller incidents and disturbances were seemingly more common in 1865 than 1868, full-scale riots were significantly more likely to occur in 1868. Mortality rates were also comparable – at least 20 were killed due to 1832 election violence, 6 in 1865, 8 in 1868, and 3 in 1880.

 

(The county boundaries are provided by www.VisionofBritain.org.uk and uses historical material which is copyright of the Great Britain Historical GIS Project and the University of Portsmouth)

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