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Politics and the NationBritain in the Mid-Eighteenth Century$
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Robert Harris

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780199246939

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199246939.001.0001

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The Political World

The Political World

(p.22) CHAPTER ONE The Political World
Politics and the Nation

Bob Harris

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the nature and changing conditions of national politics in mid-18th-century England and Wales. Emphasis is placed on the main forces shaping political life, especially party identities, and the degree of political stability which existed. The chapter examines political life from the point of view of the politicians who dominated ministerial office — the old corps Whigs, together with Whig politicians and factions who sought office, the ‘flying squadons’ as Lord Hardwicke was to call them on one occasion. The opposition to Whig oligarchical government, which included the Jacobites, Tories, who comprised a majority of opposition MPs throughout this period, opposition Whig and independent MPs, and the press, is also discussed. The press of the later 1740s to later 1750s has been little studied, yet it continued to be an important and episodically influential base for dissent from Whig rule.

Keywords:   England, Wales, politics, political stability, political life, Whigs, politicians, political opposition, Jacobites, press

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