Imperial disruptions
City, nation, and empire in the Gordon Riots
in Britain and its internal others, 1750–1800
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In this chapter, the author argues that the Gordon Riots constituted an imperial disruption in two senses. Using the Gordon Riots as a lens, the chapter examines the relationship between London, nation, and empire. Tracing the historiography of the Gordon Riots reveals several different interpretations that have prevailed since the 'riotous and tumultuous assembly' rocked the city for a week in June 1780. By the eighteenth century, many in England were convinced that Protestantism ensured their liberties, freedoms, and rights. Legal restrictions on Roman Catholics in Britain date back to the Henrician Reformation. Inspired by the successful anti-relief efforts in Scotland, the Protestant Association in London gathered signatures on its petition to repeal England's Catholic Relief Act. An anonymous pamphlet about the Gordon Riots attributed to Ignatius Sancho condemned the Protestant Association's revival of anti-Catholic sentiment.

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