This is a detailed study of the workings of the various parts of the British state in their confrontation with the radical movements of Chartism and Irish nationalism. The year 1848 was notable, first, for the immense influence of the French revolution of February upon the whole of Britain and, second, for the decisive defeats suffered by the radical movements. Professor Saville's analysis is based upon government and municipal archives, newspapers and contemporary writings, and proceeds chronologically from January to late summer, when mass arrests ended the insurgent movements on both sides of the Irish Channel. A further chapter looks at length at the workings of the legal system, and the volume concludes with a general commentary on the political consequences of the decline of Chartism which followed the defeats of 1848.
' ... 1848 is a tribute to the power and efficiency of the British state, its unobtrusive talent for negating its radical critics. There are a lot of lessons in this thorough and thoughtful book.' Peter Searby, The Historical Journal 'In the 35 years since the appearance of his Ernest Jones: Chartist, John Saville has left us continually in his debt ... Now, given this distinguished, lucid, rigorous, and thoroughly learned rendering of ... England in 1848, our indebtedness immeasurably grows.' Steward Weaver, Labor History ' ... a thoroughly researched and lucidly argued study of Britain during the revolutionary year of 1848.' International Review of Social History