This book, first published in 1995, demonstrates the central role of the 'people', the empire, and the citizen in eighteenth-century English popular politics. Pioneering in its focus on provincial towns, its attention to the imperial contexts of urban politics and its use of a rich and diverse array of sources - from newspapers, prints and plays to pottery and tea-cloths - it shows how the wide-ranging political culture of English towns attuned ordinary men and women to the issues of state power and thus enabled them to stake their own claims in national and imperial affairs.
• Explores the roles of gender and sexuality in the formation of the political subject for the first time • Emphasizes the impact of empire in formulating definitions of citizenship • Examines the impact of the nation-state on modern identities
Part I. The National Context: Introduction: The People, Towns and Politics of eighteenth-Century England: 1. Print, people and culture in the urban Renaissance; 2. Loyalism abounding to the chief of sinners: the reconfiguration of opposition politics, 1714–35; 3. Patriotic adventure: libertarianism, war and empire, 1736–62; 4. Patriot's apogee: Wilkite radicalism and the cult of resistance, 1763–74; 5. The crisis: radicalism, loyalism and the American War, 1774–85; Part II. The Cases of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Norwich: 6. Changing contexts: Newcastle and Norwich in the eighteenth century; 7. The rejection of deference: Newcastle; 8. Clientage and its discontents: Norwich; Conclusions: the people, the state and the subject.
'This much anticipated re-examination of English urban political culture builds upon the scholarship of a generation and formulates a narrative of political change that makes imperial considerations crucial … This book is a welcome advance in understanding, and an invitation to further work.' The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History
'Students of eighteenth-century Britain have eagerly anticipated this book, and it will not disappoint them' Journal of Social History
'… this book, by virtue of its broad vision and sense of change, its probings in depth, and its chronological sweep provides us with an important new perspective on eighteenth-century English politics.' Albion