This chapter explores how far the forms of, and legitimation for, plebeian protest during Hanoverian England drew, inconveniently for the authorities, upon the examples and models established by more ‘respectable’ society. During this period, central government was tolerated but not embraced by both great and small citizens, who regarded its every action as a potential threat to their liberties and livelihoods. Indeed, the respectable classes provided the crowd with both models and symbols for future actions and helped to reinforce that sense of legitimation that characterized popular protest. In this resistance, while the ‘mob’ was generally to the fore, the gentlemen and the respectable middling sort were often not far behind. In this way, protest in Hanoverian England was sustained from above, as well as from below.
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