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The Age of the Democratic RevolutionA Political History of Europe and America, 1760-1800$
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R. R. Palmer

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691161280

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691161280.001.0001

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Britain: Republicanism and the Establishment

Britain: Republicanism and the Establishment

(p.709) Chapter XXX Britain: Republicanism and the Establishment
The Age of the Democratic Revolution

R. R. Palmer

Princeton University Press

This chapter focuses on England during the revolutionary decade. It argues that in Britain and Ireland, as in Eastern Europe, it was counter-revolution that prevailed. The net effect of the revolutionary decade was to demonstrate, or to consolidate, the strength of the established order. The very lengths to which the established order went, however, in dealing with disaffection (or what was called “sedition”) offer a measure of the magnitude of the discontents. The men who ruled England were not the sort to be frightened by witches. The British governing class was neither timid, foolish, intolerant, nor especially ruthless when unprovoked. That Englishmen of this class became fearful of unrest at home, intolerant of ideas or organizations suggesting those of the French Revolution, repressive in Britain, and deliberately terroristic in Ireland can be taken as evidence of the reality of something of which, from their own point of view, they had reason to be afraid. In England as elsewhere there was a contest between democrats and aristocrats.

Keywords:   Great Britain, revolutionary movements, counter-revolution, Ireland, democrats, aristocrats

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