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Popular Politics and the American Revolution in England: Petitions, the Crown, and Public Opinion

By author: Bradley
Product Code: H170
ISBN: 9780865541818
Product Format: Hardback
Availability:Not currently available.
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Price: $35.00

Between the Stamp Act controversy of 1765 and the constitutional crisis of 1784 petitions bearing more than a quarter of a million signatures-representing nearly as many people as voted in late eighteenth-century parliamentary elections-ascended to Parliament or the Crown form the English people. In this meticulously documented study James E. Bradley carefully tracks the course of those petitions in order to illuminate the channels of communication and the avenues of dissent in eighteenth-century British politics. His analysis provides the first quantitative evidence that the British public was deeply divided over war with the American colonies. Petitions to the Crown supporting conciliation with the American colonies had been immediately suppressed by the government. Subsequently the petitions were catalogued in a misleading way by the Public Record Office. Professor Bradley’s rediscovery of these documents should correct the mistaken assumption that the English public was either indifferent about national politics or that it uniformly supported the government’s policy of coercion. Each petition to the Crown represented the “voices” of many individuals. Who were they? What place did they occupy in society? What motivated them? Bradley seeks answers to these questions in order to bridge the gulf that is often assumed to exist between local politics and national issues.
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