This ambitious and provocative study provides a unique narrative of nineteenth-century English political history. Based on extensive research the book draws on critical theory to read and interpret a vast range of oral, visual and printed sources, in an attempt to expand our conception of the politics of the period. Read in the context of such sources, nineteenth-century English politics becomes resolved into a story about the struggle to define the nation's constitution, past, present and future. It suggests the existence of a popular strain of English libertarian politics, albeit one whose radical and democratic potential was gradually closed down. In short, despite the invention of a liberal constitution in this period, politics became less (not more) democratic, a lesson which the author sees as pertinent for many struggling to live in, or establish, liberal democratic constitutions in our own times.
|Publisher:||Cambridge University Press|
|Product dimensions:||6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 1.42(d)|
Table of ContentsList of plates; List of tables; Acknowledgements; 1. Introduction: a new political history; Part I. Politics, Community and Power: 2. Power legislated: the structure of official politics; 3. Power imagined: the culture of official politics; 4. The medium and the message: power, print, and the public sphere; Part II. The Language of Organisation: 5. A language of party?; 6. Organisation as symbol; 7. The politics of culture; 8. The idol and the icon: leaders and their popular constituencies; Part III. Narratives of the Nation: 9. The nation and its people: the discourse of popular constitutionalism; 10. Conclusion: new narratives in the history of English politics?; Appendices; Bibliography; Index.