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Public Life and the Propertied Englishman 1689-1798: The Ford Lectures Delivered in the University of Oxford 1990
(Paperback, New edition)
This book offers a major reassessment of the place of propertied people in eighteenth-century England. Common views of politics in this period postulate aristocratic dominance coexisting with plebian vitality. Paul Langford explores the terrain which lay between the high ground o...f elite rule and the low ground of popular politics, revealing the vigorous activity and institutional creativity which prevailed in it. Dr Langford shows us a society in which middle-class men and women increasingly enforced their social priorities, vested interests, and ideological preoccupations. In an age imbued with the propertied mentality the machinery, formal and informal, for managing public affairs was constantly revised. Political and religious prejudices are shown in retreat before the requirements of propertied association. Parliament appears as the willing tool of interests and communities which were by no means submissive to the traditional authority of the gentry. The nobility is seen obediently adapting to the demands of those whom it sought to patronize. This perceptive study makes a significant contribution to our understanding of eighteenth-century society and politics. 'masterly book', Times Literary Supplement; 'impressive erudition and immense industry', Times Higher Education Supplement; 'as controversial as it is comprehensive ...Langford ...is a conscientious and scrupulous scholar', English Historical Review; 'written with great distinction and a certain aloof wit ...an impressive piece of work ...He has certainly given an old picture a new slant, and his thesis commands the attention of all students of 18th-century England', Spectator
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