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The Sense of the People

The Sense of the People
Politics, Culture and Imperialism in England, 1715–1785

$153.00

Part of Past and Present Publications

  • Date Published: July 1995
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521340724

$153.00
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  • This exciting study 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
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "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

    "This is...a book about extra-parliamentary politics that advances useful hypotheses about the ideology of popular opposition based on new and interesting evidence." American Historical Review

    "Students of eighteenth-century Britain have eagerly anticipated this book, and it will not disappoint them." Philip Harling, Journal of Social History

    "This offers a rich and exciting reading of popular politics and of the popular political cultural dimensions of imperialism that is open to recent methodological developments and up-to-date with the historiography....She handles the gendered, cultural, and imperial dimensions in an interesting fashion and demonstrates the wideranging and multifaceted nature of popular politics." Albion

    "...a remarkably extensive reading of eighteenth-century provincial print culture. She has the cultural anthropologist's sense of the importance of public ceremonial." Journal of Interdisciplinary History

    "The book demonstrates, richly and convincingly, that an emergent culture of imperialism was connected to an 18th-century urban renaissance. It also yields some provocative insights concerning the ways in which popular politics were inscribed by gender ....this is an important study that will generate much debate among professional historians." Choice

    "Students of eighteenth-century Britain have eagerly anticipated this book, and it will not disappoint them. Kathleen Wilson is to be commended for the meticulousness of her research, the general clarity of her prose, and the acuity of her thematic perception. The Sense of the People is a book of the first importance, and it promises to be required reading in graduate seminars for some time to come....Wilson's book is yet another proof of the revival of eighteenth-century British history." Philip Harling, Journal of Social History

    "The Sense of The People is a fine book that has already claimed two historical prizes, one from the Royal Historical Society and the other from the Conference on British Studies. Written in a florid style, it seeks to chart the emergence of a new public in English politics beyond the borders of the elite....That said, Wilson certainly does a very creditable job of showing how the discourse of the mid-century decades redefined the relationship of an expanding and buoyant middling English public to the implications of state power and imperial expansion.... Wilson's book is going to be essential reading. Certainly she offers another convincing refutation of the notion that eighteenth-century England was a politically somnolent ancien regime in which high political manoevre and dynastic or religious tensions were all that mattered." Nicholas Rogers, Canadian Journal of 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." Daniel A. Baugh, Albion

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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 1995
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521340724
    • length: 480 pages
    • dimensions: 216 x 140 x 27 mm
    • weight: 0.7kg
    • contains: 15 b/w illus. 1 map 7 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    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.

  • Author

    Kathleen Wilson, State University of New York, Stony Brook

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