Introduction
Addressing, petitioning and the public
in Loyalty, memory and public opinion in England, 1658–​1727
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This chapter examines the loyal address in the context of historiographical debates concerning the emergence of a public sphere in early modern England. It explores both the classical, Habermasian presentation of the public sphere and recent historical revisions of the concept. It argues for an approach combining a recognition of the public sphere as ‘virtual object’ with an examination of how political practice informs the development of the concept. Employing insights from scholars of modern ‘publics’, especially Michael Warner, it argues that the development of the loyal address was critical to a developing awareness of public opinion.

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