Law and Government in England during the Long Eighteenth Century From Consent to Command

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2015-05-01
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
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This book provides a fresh perspective on English law and government over the long eighteenth century (1680-1800) by discussing changes in the cultures, processes and structures of governance as they involved or impacted upon the people of England, especially relatively ordinary people. It argues that in this period governance was shifting from 'consent' to 'command' with declining popular participation, the rise of professional administration through the application of statutory powers, and the application of legislation as opposed to the common law. Lemmings shows how the modernization of government entailed moving away from a 'big society' culture towards a more professionalized and mediated experience of power which depended on the management of public opinion and parliamentary absolutism. He concludes that bourgeois public opinion was highly critical of popular involvement in law and governance, and promoted imaginative engagement and vicarious association through the consumption of printed matter, rather than active participation.

Author Biography

David Lemmings is Professor of History at the University of Adelaide, Australia. He has published several books on legal culture and governance in eighteenth-century England, and is editor (with Claire Walker) of Moral Panics, the Media and the Law in Early Modern England (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009).

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgements
List of Tables
Note on Works Cited in Endnotes
1. Introduction: Law, Consent and Command
2. The Local Experience of Law and Authority: Quarter Sessions, JPs, and the People
3. Going to Law: the Rise and Fall of Civil Litigation
4. Crime and the Administration of Criminal Law: Problems, Solutions, and Participation
5. Parliament, Legislation and the People: the Idea and Experience of Leviathan
6. Conclusion: Governance, People and Law in the Eighteenth Century

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