Richard Overton was born in about 1625. In 1646 he joined with John Lilburne, John Wildman and William Walwyn to form a new political party called the Levellers. Their political programme included: voting rights for all adult males, annual elections, complete religious freedom, the abolition of the monarchy and the House of Lords, trial by jury, an end to the censorship of books and newspapers, no taxation of people earning less than £30 a year and a maximum interest rate of 6%.
Overton made an attack on the House of Lords in his pamphlet, An Alarum to the House of Lords against their Insolent Usurpation of the Common Liberties and Rights of this Nation. As a result of this pamphlet he was arrested in August, 1646 and sent to Newgate Prison. While in prison he published An Arrow Shot from the Prison of Newgate into the Prerogative Bowels of the Arbitrary House of Lords. He was unconditionally released on 16th September, 1647.
Overton, along with John Lilburne and William Walwyn, published An Agreement of the People. He also joined with Lilburne and Thomas Prince to write England's New Chains Discovered. On 28th August 1649, the three authors were arrested and sent to the Tower of London. Lilburne was tried first and after a jury refused to convict him Overton and Prince were released on 8th November.
It is estimated that Overton wrote about fifty pamphlets arguing for political and religious liberty. His best known work was A Remonstrance of Many Thousand Citizens and An Arrow Against All Tyrants.
Overton grew disillusioned with the dictatorial policies of Oliver Cromwell and in 1655 joined John Wildman and Edward Sexby in developing a plot to overthrow the government. The conspiracy was discovered and Overton fled to Flanders. He eventually returned to England but was once more in prison in 1663 for publishing a pamphlet criticizing Charles II.
Richard Overton died in 1664.