Print and politics in the East Midlands constituencies c.1790-1832

Nicholson, Hannah (2019) Print and politics in the East Midlands constituencies c.1790-1832. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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This thesis is an examination of printed political ephemera, produced and distributed during election canvasses between 1790 and 1832. Previous studies have highlighted the popular, public nature of election rituals during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, although, to date, few have fully appreciated the level and range of printed literature produced during the course of canvassing. This thesis uses a broad range of printed and manuscript evidence including political ephemera, local newspapers, election receipts, and correspondences from borough and county elections, highlighting the level of work which went into orchestrating a canvass in the unreformed era, especially by candidates, their political agents, and printers.

The focus of this study is the borough and county constituencies of Derbyshire, Leicestershire, and Nottinghamshire, with particular emphasis on borough elections. Between 1790 and 1832, this region, along with the rest of the country, underwent profound social and political change, and so this thesis not only acts as an important test case for the operation of local political culture nationally, but also represents the first comprehensive study of printed electoral culture for the region.

The central premise of this thesis is fourfold. Firstly, it aims to reinstate the importance of printed canvasses to the study of political culture and electoral politics, which have often been seen as secondary to the local press. Secondly, it argues that, such was the fast paced nature of elections and electioneering that, in comparison to provincial newspapers, handbills, broadsides, songs and ballads offered a much more versatile form of communication between candidates and voters. This thesis also re-examines the assumption that, for much of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, local elections were dominated by local concerns and personalities. Finally, this thesis considers the audience, reach, and reception of election canvasses, arguing that, although printed canvasses were not always designed with non-voters in mind, the public nature of print and other election rituals meant that they were much more inclusive than initially appears.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Beckett, J.V.
Gaunt, R.A.
Keywords: political ephemera, local newspapers, East Midlands, borough elections, local politics
Subjects: D History - General and Old World > DA Great Britain
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of History
Item ID: 55891
Depositing User: Nicholson, Hannah
Date Deposited: 14 Aug 2019 12:14
Last Modified: 07 May 2020 10:32

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