Local identities and a national parliament, c.1688–1835
in Parliaments, nations and identities in Britain and Ireland, 1660–1850
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Local identities could draw on many sources: a historical foundation myth, a religious cult, a particular landscape or a common economy. Improvements in transport, the growth of a national press and the rise of public opinion outside Westminster facilitated the creation of national networks of communication. They also facilitated and contributed to the formation and articulation of local and regional consciousness. These developments raised important questions concerning the mode in which the British perceived parliament in relation to their own locality and how the interests of a particular local community were constructed or expressed in relation to a national parliamentary one. Local issues dominated the political culture of Britain outside Westminster, and could be of crucial significance in determining the outcome of parliamentary elections. Parliamentary inquiries into poor relief, charitable provision or gaols were providing the raw materials for establishing national benchmarks and more standardised criteria for local government.

Editor: Julian Hoppit


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