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Britain's Political Economies

Britain's Political Economies
Parliament and Economic Life, 1660–1800

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  • Date Published: May 2017
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781316649909

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About the Authors
  • The Glorious Revolution of 1688–9 transformed the role of parliament in Britain and its empire. Large numbers of statutes resulted, with most concerning economic activity. Julian Hoppit here provides the first comprehensive account of these acts, revealing how government affected economic life in this critical period prior to the Industrial Revolution, and how economic interests across Britain used legislative authority for their own benefit. Through a series of case studies, he shows how ideas, interests, and information influenced statutory action in practice. Existing frameworks such as 'mercantilism' and the 'fiscal-military state' fail to capture the full richness and structural limitations of how political power influenced Britain's precocious economic development in the period. Instead, finely grained statutory action was the norm, guided more by present needs than any grand plan, with regulatory ambitions constrained by administrative limitations, and some parts of Britain benefiting much more than others.

    • A quantitative overview of all acts relating to the economy in the critical period following the Glorious Revolution
    • Sheds new light on a key institutional context for the British Industrial Revolution
    • Case studies challenge existing frameworks for understanding economic development in this period, such as mercantilism and the fiscal-military state
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Britain's Political Economies will fundamentally alter the way we think about the nature of Britain's state-regulated economy before the Industrial Revolution.' Tim Harris, Journal of Interdisciplinary History

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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2017
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781316649909
    • length: 410 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 x 22 mm
    • weight: 0.57kg
    • contains: 18 b/w illus. 3 maps 47 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Contours:
    1. Introduction
    2. The legislative revolution
    3. Legislating economically
    4. The local, national, and imperial
    5. Information, interests, and political economy
    Part II. Cases:
    6. The political economy of the fens
    7. The political economy of wool
    8. The political economy of bounties
    9. Refiguring the British fiscal state
    10. Conclusion
    Appendix 1: legislation subject scheme
    Appendix 2: specific economic legislation by English and Scottish counties, 1707–1800.

  • Author

    Julian Hoppit, University College London
    Julian Hoppit is Astor Professor of British History at University College London, where he has taught for over thirty years. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and of the Royal Historical Society, and he has held visiting fellowships at the Huntingdon Library California and the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (EHESS), Paris. Previous publications include Risk and Failure in English Business, 1700–1800 (Cambridge, 2002) and A Land of Liberty? England 1689–1727 (2002). He edited the Historical Journal from 2008 to 2012 and he is the recipient of a Leverhulme Trust Major Research Fellowship (2016–19) to research 'Public Finances and the Union, 1707–1978'.

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