constitutional societies

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In the early 1790s, under the influence of the French Revolution and Tom Paine's Rights of Man (1791), constitutional or ‘corresponding’ societies were set up by working men in London, Sheffield, Derby, and Manchester. They were suppressed by the end of the decade, but have come to be regarded as the first working‐class political organizations. See E. P. Thompson, The Making of the English Working Class (1965).

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