Grain riots and popularattitudes
to the law: Maldon and the crisis of 1629
Nothing more slackens the reins of government, and the stability of peace, which
is upheld by the reverent awe and respect which the people and subjects give to the
Magistrate, than when by injustice and unworthinesse, they bring their persons
and authority under contempt and dislike; but that they seem not as Gods but Idols,
which have eares but heare not, eyes but see not, mouths but speak not true judgement.
Against such Magistrates, people are prone to think it, not only
Early modern England was marked by profound changes in economy, society, politics and religion. It is widely believed that the poverty and discontent which these changes often caused resulted in major rebellion and frequent 'riots'. This book argues for the inherently political nature of popular protest through a series of studies of acts of collective protest, up to and including the English Revolution. Authority was always the first historian of popular protest. Explaining the complex relationship between the poor and their governors, the book overviews popular attitudes to the law and the proper exercise of authority in early modern England. A detailed reconstruction of events centring on grain riots in the Essex port of Maldon in the crisis of 1629 is then presented. Urbanisation, regional specialisation and market integration were the larger changes against which disorder was directed between 1585 and 1649. The book discusses the 'four Ps', population growth, price rise, poverty and protest, explaining their connection with population explosion to poverty and protest. The major European revolts of the so-called 'Oxfordshire rising' are then analysed. Popular politics might deploy 'weapons of the weak' in a form of everyday politics that was less dramatic but more continuous than 'riot'. On the very eve of the Civil War, large crowds, with underemployed clothworkers, attacked and plundered the houses of local Catholics and proto-royalists among the nobility and gentry. In a culture that proscribed protest and prescribed obedience, public transcripts could be used to legitimise a popular political agency.
Popular culture is invariably a vehicle for the dominant ideas of its age. Never was this truer than in the late-nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when it reflected the nationalist and imperialist ideologies current throughout Europe. It both reflects popular attitudes, ideas and preconceptions and it generates support for selected views and opinions. This book examines the various media through which nationalist ideas were conveyed in late-Victorian and Edwardian times: in the theatre, "ethnic" shows, juvenile literature, education and the iconography of popular art. It seeks to examine in detail the articulation and diffusion of imperialism in the field of juvenile literature by stressing its pervasiveness across boundaries of class, nation and gender. It analyses the production, distribution and marketing of imperially-charged juvenile fiction, stressing the significance of the Victorians' discovery of adolescence, technological advance and educational reforms as the context of the great expansion of such literature. An overview of the phenomenon of Robinson Crusoe follows, tracing the process of its transformation into a classic text of imperialism and imperial masculinity for boys. The imperial commitment took to the air in the form of the heroic airmen of inter-war fiction. The book highlights that athleticism, imperialism and militarism become enmeshed at the public schools. It also explores the promotion of imperialism and imperialist role models in fiction for girls, particularly Girl Guide stories.
of medical-professional expertise has also
been undermined by changes in popularattitudes. The public no longer
expresses the kind of deference or respect for the medical profession that they
once did, and rarely do they take diagnosis at face value. A more consumerist
approach to bodily and mental health and a vibrant market for alternative and
holistic medicine mean that patients often scour the internet for alternative
sources of advice and treatment. Meanwhile, a spate of scandals, both real
(Alder Hey, Shipman, etc.) and imagined (MMR and autism) have eroded
Sheryllynne Haggerty, Anthony Webster and Nicholas J. White
were labelled as ‘loose’, as prostitutes and of low
character. Frost’s chapter thus provides a classic example of how
Liverpool’s long-standing colonial connections had a disturbing
influence upon popularattitudes into and beyond the era of
Even so, the everyday experience of individuals either
within or connected to Liverpool varied, as did their identification
secondly by offering an interpretation of the various meanings given to
patriotism in music hall and related entertainment. The objective is to
identify and explain changes in music-hall patriotism over time, and by
so doing to throw some light on the complex issue of popularattitudes
towards the Empire in this period.
The term ‘music hall’ covers a number of
different types of institution, and also genres
practical problems of finding
a means of enforcing the sanctions. The third and final section looks at
‘popular’ attitudes towards the law and the assimilation of
legal concepts as manifested in the Peasants’ Revolt. In seeking
to answer the questions posed at the start of this book concerning the
articulation of ideas during the Revolt and the background to its
eruption, the dynamic role of legal
This book assesses the English national war effort during the Anglo-Spanish war (1585–1603), examining wartime government in a wide-ranging set of contexts. It looks first at political problems: the structure of the wartime state, popular attitudes to the war and the government’s efforts to influence them, resistance to demands, and the problems of governing a country divided in religion and a regime deeply fearful of the future. It then assesses the machinery in practice, looking at the work of the central regime under the Queen herself alongside the local government machinery of lord lieutenancies which carried the demands of the centre into the counties, towns and parishes of England. These mechanisms of rule were crucial to the success of the war effort, by providing troops to fight overseas, running the militia which defended against the Spanish Armada (1588) and other invasion attempts and paying for them both through local taxes. The book draws evidence and case studies from across the country and from politics and government at all levels, from the court and Privy Council to the counties and parishes, but it seeks to examine England as a single polity. In this way it ranges much more widely than the war alone and provides a new assessment of the effectiveness of the Elizabethan state as a whole. It challenges many existing assumptions about the weakness of the state in the face of military change, finding a political system in much better health than has previously been thought.
The idioms and risks of defiance in the trial of Margaretha Horn, 1652
This chapter offers a detailed analysis of one accused witch's strategy of denying her guilt in council custody from 1652 and also shows that elite and popular attitudes towards witchcraft began to change in the course of the seventeenth century. The accused witch called Margaretha Horn not only refused to confess to witchcraft in 1652 but also developed a sophisticated rhetoric of defiance against the city council and its handling of her case in the course of her interrogation. Her trial is of such interest because it underscores particularly effectively the point that women on trial for witchcraft were not ‘mere mouthpieces of a patriarchal elite’, whose statements and confessions were simply forced rehashing of that elite's demonology. On the contrary, and despite the fact that power over the trial process lay ultimately with the council, alleged witches were capable of contributing to and of shaping the course of interrogations in idiosyncratic ways. At the same time, however, the trial of Margaretha shows that it was becoming increasingly problematic for women accused of witchcraft in early modern Rothenburg to articulate defiance against their accusers and the council without this defiance being interpreted as additional evidence of their alleged identity as witches.
This chapter examines the complex relationship between the unemployed, local government officials, elected councillors and Whitehall. It focuses on the introduction of a household means test, by the newly formed National Government, as a requirement for benefit for all long-term unemployed men and women. The Public Assistance Committees were left to administer the test which was fashioned on the old poor law examination. Investigating the financial circumstances of the respectable working-class, who had little previous contact with the PAC, was highly controversial and was potentially political suicide. Attempts to generously administer the test, from Labour Party councillors in particular, led to extreme variations in allowances and interventions from the Ministry of Labour including replacing local authority administrations. The debates over the means test are revealing of governmental and popular attitudes towards the unemployed and working-class families, and the framing of social policy. The importance of the notion of respectability in working-class communities and the shift in attitudes towards receiving state benefits is considered.