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Charles Bradlaugh

Bradlaugh, Charles (brădˈlô) [key], 1833–91, British social reformer, a secularist. Editor of the free-thinking weekly National Reformer from 1860 and later associated with Annie Besant, he was an early advocate of woman's suffrage, birth control, free speech, national education, trade unionism, and other controversial causes. In 1880, Bradlaugh was elected to Parliament after several unsuccessful attempts. Rather than take a Bible oath to be sworn in as a member of Parliament, Bradlaugh, an atheist, demanded the right to take an affirmation. This action provoked a great deal of controversy, and it was not until 1886 that the matter was settled in his favor. His numerous works include Land for the People (1877), The True Story of My Parliamentary Struggle (1882), and Speeches (1890).

See W. L. Arnstein, The Bradlaugh Case (1965); D. Tribe, President Charles Bradlaugh, M. P. (1971).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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