Portraiture, caricature and visual culture in Britain, c. 1830–80
Author: Henry Miller

This book examines the role of political likenesses in a half-century that was crucial for the political modernisation of Britain, a two-party system that began to take shape and politicians became increasingly accountable and responsive to public opinion. Political language, especially electoral rhetoric, has been accorded considerable weight by recent studies in building broad coalitions of political support in popular and electoral politics. The book studies political likenesses, the key mode of visual politics at this time, as part of a nuanced analysis of contemporary political culture and the nature of the representative system. It examines a diverse range of material including woven silk portraiture, oil paintings, numismatics and medals, banners, ceramics, statuary and memorials as well as items printed on paper or card. After an analysis of the visual culture spawned by the reform bills of 1831-1832, the book shows how Conservative and Liberal/Reformer identities were visualised through semi-official series of portrait prints. The pictorial press, photographs and portrait testimonials, statues and memorials, MPs were venerated as independent representatives and champions of particular localities, trades, interests or issues, and not party hacks. Depictions of Lord Palmerston and his rivals, including Lord John Russell and Lord Derby, in the 1850s and 1860s often underplayed in pictorial representations to emphasise physical and political vigour. The role of political portraits and cartoons in the decade after the passing of the 1867 Representation of the People Act is also discussed.

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Reforms, 1911 to 2015
Philip Norton

as co-equal with the Commons, some peers recognised the implications of the changes. Speaking during debate on the 1867 Reform Bill, the Earl of Shaftesbury queried how the House would be affected by ‘this great democratic change’: So long as the other House of Parliament was elected upon a restricted principle, I can understand that it would submit to a check from a House such as this. But in the presence of this great democratic power and the advance of this great democratic wave … it passes my comprehension to understand how an hereditary House like this

in Reform of the House of Lords
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Henry Miller

spawned by the reform bills of 1831–32. In prints, caricatures and material culture, the reform bills were seen as a means to destroy a corrupt, parasitic state funded by heavy taxes. This explains why Grey’s ministry were portrayed as heroes, why the redistribution but not the franchise clauses attracted most attention and why the popular enthusiasm for the measure quickly turned to disappointment so soon after its passing. However, the 1832 Reform Act stimulated the development of a two-party system and the second chapter shows how Conservative and Liberal

in Politics personified
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Victorian Parnassus on the Isle of Wight
Jeff Rosen

modern protection for the common man.66 Grote’s historical and interpretive studies were published during this critical period of national political identity formation and change, where among England’s elite, Greek history was being reinterpreted to provide a cultural and political heritage of good government. At stake for Grote was building support for representational government, especially in advance of the debates connected to the 1867 Reform Bill. In his essays, he reinterpreted the role of the ancient sophists by directly contradicting earlier British historians

in Julia Margaret Cameron’s ‘fancy subjects’
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National identity in The Wild Irish Girl and Sybil
Andrew Ballantyne

one of Queen Victoria’s prime ministers. Disraeli, of course, became another. By the time that Sybil was published, the Reform Bill had widened the franchise a little, and the Act of Toleration had put Roman Catholicism on a better footing. Both of the nations which are in conflict in Sybil are British – we might now prefer to call them two cultures – the rich

in Cultural identities and the aesthetics of Britishness
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The reform crisis, 1830–2
Katrina Navickas

riots broke out in southern England. The reform movement was encouraged further by the coming to power of the Whig reformer Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey, in November 1830.1 Over 120 political unions were formed between January 1830 and May 1832, and more than half were based in northern textile manufacturing towns.2 Political unions defied the 1799 and 1819 legislation against political societies, but Earl Grey initially regarded them as useful demonstrations of public support for his reform bill. This time, the Metropolitan and Birmingham political unions led the way

in Protest and the politics of space and place, 1789–1848
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Editor: Gregory Vargo

The first collection of its kind, Chartist Drama makes available four plays written or performed by members of the Chartist movement of the 1840s. Emerging from the lively counter-culture of this protest campaign for democratic rights, these plays challenged cultural as well as political hierarchies by adapting such recognisable genres as melodrama, history plays, and tragedy for performance in radically new settings. A communal, public, and embodied art form, drama was linked for the Chartists with other kinds of political performance: the oratory of the mass platform, festival-like outdoor meetings, and the elaborate street theatre of protest marches. Plays that Chartists wrote or staged advanced new interpretations of British history and criticised aspects of the contemporary world. And Chartist drama intervened in fierce strategic arguments within the movement. Most notably, poet-activist John Watkins’s John Frost, which dramatises the gripping events of the Newport rising of 1839, in which twenty-two Chartists lost their lives, defends the rebellion and the Chartist recourse to violence as a means for the movement to achieve its aims. The volume’s appendices document over one hundred Chartist dramatic performances, staged by activists in local Chartist associations or at professional benefits at some of London’s largest working-class theatres. Gregory Vargo’s introduction and notes elucidate the previously unexplored world of Chartist dramatic culture, a context that promises to reshape what we know about early Victorian popular politics and theatre.

Substance, symbols, and hope
Author: Andra Gillespie

The election of Barack Obama was a milestone in US history with tremendous symbolic importance for the black community. But was this symbolism backed up by substance? Did ordinary black people really benefit under the first black president?

This is the question that Andra Gillespie sets out to answer in Race and the Obama Administration. Using a variety of methodological techniques—from content analysis of executive orders to comparisons of key indicators, such as homeownership and employment rates under Clinton, Bush, and Obama— the book charts the progress of black causes and provides valuable perspective on the limitations of presidential power in addressing issues of racial inequality. Gillespie uses public opinion data to investigate the purported disconnect between Obama’s performance and his consistently high ratings among black voters, asking how far the symbolic power of the first black family in the White House was able to compensate for the compromises of political office.

Scholarly but accessible, Race and the Obama Administration will be of interest to students and lecturers in US politics and race studies, as well as to general readers who want to better understand the situation of the black community in the US today and the prospects for its improvement.

Peter Yeandle, Katherine Newey and Jeffrey Richards

value in promoting national unity and order, which might still feel current in early twenty-first-century neo-liberal times. Gladstone’s support of a National Theatre is of a piece in its time with other progressive moves towards universal education, and the general improvement of the working classes. However, it is not difficult to see in this work a tense relationship between such uses of culture and the moves towards universal suffrage after the 1867 Reform Bill. Heinrich’s essay uses the focus of a major reforming Liberal premiership to tease out what are still

in Politics, performance and popular culture
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William IV, affability and the reform crisis, 1830–37
Steve Poole

cuddled and kissed by ‘one of the common women’ in St James’s Street. She hoped he might ‘soon go out of town and be quiet’.8 It was not the over-enthusiasm of the people that forced William to abandon his high public profile by the summer of 1832, however, but their discontent. His weak command of the Government during the Reform Bill crisis made him anything but popular, and neither he nor the Queen went anywhere without guards after that. Politics and the patriot King Radical reformers busied themselves with petitions and addresses to the King throughout the summer

in The politics of regicide in England, 1760–1850