Based on archival sources, this study considers political activities in Suffolk's two main constituencies over the course of the 18th century. Mining the records of an unusually rich provincial press, Sommers addresses many key questions of Hanoverian political historiography: the press, popular political expressions, women in politics, deference, and elite behavior. She focuses primarily on the second half of the century, a time marked by an increasingly sophisticated electorate that left considerable documentary evidence, to determine how politics actually developed in East Anglia, as recorded in public and private documents.
In addition to a description of the variety and nature of Suffolk politics, the work elaborates upon a number of important collateral themes. These include the appearance of intense political awareness and enthusiastic participation in popular activities among those not possessing the vote, coupled with a political use of the press that grows dramatically in scope over the course of the century. Other sections detail the sustained development of the independence of the electorate and the connection between religious affiliation and partisan identification locally, as well as that between local and national parties.
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About the Author
SUSAN MITCHELL SOMMERS is an Associate Professor of History at St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania and currently serves as Regional Sub-Editor for The Historian.
Table of Contents
The Town and Environs
Suffolk in the 18th Century
The County at Large
Politics in Suffolk, 1700-1784
Observations and Conclusions