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Between 1806 and 1832 William Cobbett stood four times for Parliament, but on each occasion was unsuccessful. He finally achieved his ambition following the 1832 Great Reform Act, successfully contesting a seat in the new Parliamentary borough of Oldham. In his short Parliamentary career he sought to represent both the interests of his northern industrial constituents and the southern agricultural workers that he knew so well, a task which not surprisingly proved difficult. His most notable Parliamentary contributions were based around his unequivocal support for the Tolpuddle Martyrs, and his vociferous opposition to the new workhouse system that was introduced by the Poor Law (Amendment) Act of 1834.
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