Politics and Democracy in late 18th Century England

Professor Arthur Burns

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Portrait of Georgia, Duchess of Devonshire by Joshua Reynolds, c.1780-81

In this podcast, Professor Arthur Burns of Kings College London discusses politics and democracy in late 18th-century England. 

The podcast starts by looking at what elections were about in late 18th-century England and how different this is from elections today - in particular, the focus then on representation and legislation at the local rather than national level. Professor Burns then looks at the other channels that were available to people pursuing political objectives or campaigning for change, and what scope there was for female participation in politics. The podcast also asks why electoral form did not have more support in the late 18th century and why that began to change. It finishes with a brief guide to good primary sources to use in studying this topic.

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1. What were elections about in later 18th century England?
2. Is it helpful to understand their operations in terms of corruption?
3. What other means did people have for pursuing political objectives?
4. What opportunities were there for women to pursue their political goals within and beyond the electoral system?
5. Why did electoral reform not have more support, and why did that change?
6. Good sources to use

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