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Dismembering the Body Politic

Partisan Politics in England's Towns, 1650–1730

Dismembering the Body Politic
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This is a major survey of how towns were governed in late Stuart and early Hanoverian England. A new kind of politics emerged out of England's Civil War: partisan politics. This happened first in the corporations governing the towns, and not at Parliament as is usually argued. Based on an examination of the records of scores of corporations, this book explains how war unleashed a cycle of purge and counter-purge which continued for decades. It also explains how a society that feared a system of politics based on division found the means to absorb it peacefully. As conflict sharpened in communities everywhere, local competitors turned to the court of King's Bench to resolve their differences. In doing so, they prompted the court to develop a new body of law that protected local governments from the divisive impulses within them.
Cambridge University Press; July 1998
416 pages; ISBN 9780511820939
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