The ‘Non-Élite’ Membership of the Parliaments of George I
This chapter covers in detail the ‘non-élite’ elements in the Parliaments of George I. The relatively large degree of social mobility in late Stuart and early Hanoverian Britain is clearly reflected in the membership of George I’s two Parliaments. A significant number of the Members came from groups in society which ranked below the traditional ruling élite. A number of Members of Parliament elected were engaged in various forms of business not linked to the great companies, and in one or two instances they still nursed a political interest in provincial centres with which they or their families in the past generation had had a business connection. In George I’s second Parliament, there was a slight and not significant fluctuation in the number of men classifiable as ‘heirs’. The presumption remains that the limited record available almost certainly understates the extent of the contribution to parliamentary activity by the Members classifiable as ‘non-élite’ in George I’s Parliaments.
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