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The reform of public life in modern Britain, 1750–1950
Editors: Ian Cawood and Tom Crook

The many lives of corruption begins the task of piecing together the bigger picture of how corruption has undermined public life in modern Britain. It offers a uniquely expansive perspective, which stretches from the Old Corruption and ‘unreformed’ politics of the eighteenth century through to the mass democracy and welfare state of the twentieth.

Conceptually, as an object of thought, as much as practicably, and as an object of reform, corruption has proved tenaciously problematic and protean. This volume engages with both of these crucial aspects, arguing that it is only by grasping them together that we can fully understand how corruption has shaped the making of a democratic-capitalist state in Britain and given rise to new ideals of public service. It examines the factors that have facilitated and frustrated anticorruption reforms, as well as the various ways ‘corruption’ has been conceived by historical agents. It does so across a range of different sites – electoral, political and administrative, domestic and colonial – presenting new research on neglected areas of reform, while revisiting well-known scandals and corrupt practices. The many lives of corruption is essential reading for all scholars interested in understanding how the pursuit of purity in British public life has evolved over the past two and a half centuries – and why corruption remains such a pressing issue today.

Parliament and electoral corruption in the nineteenth century
Kathryn Rix

Practices Acts and the 1872 Ballot Act – are routinely discussed in histories of the nineteenth-century political system. Another significant change came in 1868 with the transfer of jurisdiction over election petitions from the Commons to the judiciary. However, these acts were only part of the picture. Parliament also produced several lesser measures, and efforts were made to pass many more. Yet these

in The many lives of corruption
Peter Jones

-recording and undetected crime could be factored-in to the calculations. The broad contours of prosecuted defendants for corruption offences against the Public Bodies Corrupt Practices Acts (1889, 1906 and 1916) reveal that prosecutions remained at a low level throughout the period 1890 to 1970 with two minor surges around 1916–20 and 1930–35. The corruption laws established the narrowest definition of corruption in that they applied to employees and elected councillors and other representatives of public bodies making it illegal for them to use their public positions

in From virtue to venality