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The Tolpuddle Martyrs were a group of 19th century Dorset agricultural labourers who were arrested for and convicted of swearing a secret oath as members of the Friendly Society of Agricultural Labourers. The rules of the society show it was clearly structured as a friendly society and operated as a trade-specific benefit society. But at the time, friendly societies had strong elements of what are now considered to be the predominant role of trade unions. The Tolpuddle Martyrs were subsequently sentenced to transportation to Australia.
Tags: Agricultural, Australia. revolution rags, Dorset, Friendly Society, Labourers, Tolpuddle Martyrs, arrested, convicts, secret oath, society, trade, trade unions, transportation