Dismembering the Body Politic: Partisan Politics in England's Towns, 1650-1730

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This is a major survey of how towns were governed in late Stuart and early Hanoverian England. A new kind of politics emerged out of England's Civil Wars: partisan politics. This happened first in the corporations governing the towns, and not at Parliament as is usually argued. Based on an examination of the records of scores of corporations, this book explains how war unleashed cycles of purge and counter-purge which continued for decades. It also explains how a society that feared a system of politics based on division found the means to absorb it peacefully.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Paul D. Halliday's book offers a new insight into the electoral politics of corporate English towns in the unstable decades of the English monarchy between the execution of King Charles I and the confirmation of the Hanoverian succession. The importance of his work lies in the fact that corporate towns elected most of the members of parliament in these decades. My estimate is that Halliday's work needs to be read by political historians of England. Those interested in parliament and party, and urban historians, should buy it...a well-planned and well-argued book. It is easy, even compelling to read. It places more emphasis on local initiatives in politics, and if the approach is accepted, then Charles II and James II emerge as lesser demons in corporation history than has hitherto been claimed." The Journal of Modern History

"...Halliday's study provides a useful complement to the pioneering work on the emergence of partisan politics..." Choice

"This is an important book and should be studied by anyone interested in the impact of partisan politics on the body politic." Richard G. Bailey, Canadian Journal of History

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Product Details

Table of Contents

List of abbreviations
Pt. 1 Corporate ideal and partisan reality
1 The paradox of partisan politics 3
2 "The best of politics" 29
3 From purge to purge: Civil War, Interregnum, and Restoration in the corporations 56
4 Partisan politics, 1663-1682 106
Pt. 2 The King and his corporations, 1660-1688
5 The corporations and their charters, 1660-1682 149
6 Quo warranto and the King's corporations, 1682-1685 189
7 Revolution in the corporations, 1685-1688 237
Pt. 3 Partisan conflict and the law in a dynamic society
8 The legacy of the 1680s 265
9 Partisan conflict and political stability, 1702-1727 304
10 1660, 1688, 1727, and beyond 342
App. A Royal charters of incorporation, 1660-1727 350
App. B Enforcement of the Corporation Act, 1662-1663 354
Select bibliography 362
Index 383
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