Charles Bradlaugh  
Charles Bradlaugh (1833-1891)

Charles Bradlaugh One of the most controversial public figures of the late nineteenth century. Charles Bradlaugh championed unpopular causes like birth control, republicanism, atheism, reform, peace and anti-imperialism. His views placed him in conflict with powerful interests, institutions and people, but most of his arguments have since been vindicated.

In 1876 he established the Freethought Publishing Company and released
an edition of Charles Knowlton's pamphlet The Fruits of Philosophy, a work advocating birth control. Bradlaugh was convicted for publishing an obscene publication but in 1878 the case was dismissed on a technicality.

Between 1880 and 1886 Bradlaugh fought for the right of unbelievers to sit in the House of Commons, and he was the first atheist to become an MP. His Act of 1888 established the legal right to affirm the Parliamentary oath rather than swearing the oath on a bible. Bradlaugh was MP for Northampton between 1880-1891 (although he was only permitted to take his seat in the House of Commons from January 1886). He was unofficially known as the MP for India due to his sympathetic support for Indian self-government. He is buried in a family grave in plot 108.

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