This is a wide-ranging study of electoral politics in England between 1734 and 1832. It analyses the control of the electoral system by the upper classes, the world of the voters, and the function of an election in the unreformed period. The history of the electoral system has been distorted by later emphasis on the extent of corruption in the constituencies. Dr O'Gorman takes us deep into the political underworld normally left undisturbed by
historians; that of the committee men, agents, and canvassers who made the unreformed system work for as long as it did. Above all, this book is about the voters - their motivations, prejudices, beliefs and ideals, as well as their numbers and political behaviour. Frank O'Gorman has combined computer
analysis with traditional historical methods to reconstruct the social and ideological world of the voters, and argues that an understanding of the electoral dimension is vital to a broader understanding of the Hanoverian regime and its popular acceptance. The interaction of the parliamentary parties at Westminster with the older political culture of the constituencies is traced in the final part of this book. The nature of Hanoverian politics and society have been the
subject of much recent debate, and this far-reaching analysis of the electorate takes us to the very heart of that social and political structure.
`an important and richly suggestive book which extends our understanding not merely of the unreformed electoral system, but of the political culture of Hanoverian England more generally ... his most impressive insights are into the electoral sociology of Hanoverian England. By demonstrating the extent to which electoral processes were participatory and popular, he has contributed substantially to our understanding of the nature of political stability ...
his work will deservedly hold the field for the foreseeable future. It is a book to savour.'
EHR April 1993
`it is a brilliant success. With superb scholarship, O'Gorman has written the most distinguished book on the subject since 1903: its implications for modern democratic government are as profound as they are understated.
Jonathan Clark, The Times
'a brilliant success ... With superb scholarship, O'Gorman has written the most distinguished book on the subject since 1903; its implications for modern democratic government are as profound as they are understated.'
Jonathan Clark, The Times
'powerful and important book ... this is a brilliant study of the conventions of electoral behaviour in the unreformed parliament ... This book is certain to arouse widespread interest and it touches on a host of issues of central concern to scholars of the period.'
Times Higher Education Supplement
'one of the most impressive, original and broadly argued books to appear on this period in recent years ... He has taken popular politics, so often discussed only in terms of protest by marginal groups, and inserted it back into the formal, political history of unreformed Britain. And this is a major achievement.'
Times Literary Supplement
`an enormously important study of the voters of Hanoverian England. Clearly written and vigorously argued, this major work of scholarship proves conclusively that the unreformed electorate must be taken seriously.'
Enlightenment and Dissent
'This world Frank O'Gorman has reconstructed with loving and patient care and with a wealth of documentation and analysis that is imposing.'
London Review of Books
Alan Heesom, University of Durham, History, No. 246, Feb 1991
'this is the first comprehensive study of the Hanoverian electorate to appear in print since before the First World War ... Dr O'Gorman offers much here that will be of value not only to the historical psephologist but equally to the more wide-ranging student of Hanoverian politics and society ... this book makes a massive and timely contribution to the burgeoning professional interest in England's 'ancien regime'. Moreover, in the field of historical
psephology it will long be regarded rightly as a landmark publication.'
Stephen W. Baskerville, University of Hull, Durham University Journal, Jan. '91
'a most praiseworthy achievement ... It must be compulsory and compulsive reading for all students of the Georgian era.'
Peter D.G. Thomas, University College of Wales, British Journal of Eighteenth Century Studies
'Frank O'Gorman's exhaustively researched and skillfully written monograph unquestionably takes its place as the leading study on the last century of the unreformed English and Welsh (but not Scottish or Irish) electorate. All students of the period should be immensely grateful.'
James J. Sack, University of Illinois, American Historical Review, December 1991
Preface; list of tables; The electoral system in Hanoverian England; The structure of electoral politics; The processes of electoral politics; The unreformed electorate; Ideological aspects of electoral behaviour; The party dimension to electoral politics; conclusion; Appendix