The breeches-maker and LCS member Francis Place credited the Society with improving the morals and education of its humbly-born members, but the government regarded radical societies — especially those with an unlimited membership and nationwide association — as dangerous. Their fears were exacerbated by the violent turn taken by the Revolution, and once war with France broke out in , the authorities sought to restrict the activities of reform societies under the guise of national security.
British reformers, they argued, were far too similar to French Jacobins, the most powerful and extreme revolutionary faction. Government-sponsored journalists propagated this message in the press, while spies on the ground penetrated radical meetings and provided exaggerated reports of treasonous plots. Not all anti-radical activity was government-led. The Association for the Preservation of Liberty and Property against Republicans and Levellers was established by the barrister John Reeves to counter the perceived threat to the British constitution.
Like the LCS, the Reeves association in London communicated with the more than affiliated regional offshoots, and helped to circulate conservative propaganda by the likes of Hannah More.
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Reeves himself published several tracts in defence of the existing system and was rewarded by the government for his actions, but ministers remained somewhat ambivalent about the popular conservative movement, which itself raised the spectre of mob violence it claimed to be trying to defeat.
Usage terms Public Domain Not all supporters of the existing constitution restricted themselves to writing pamphlets or loyal addresses to the king; some also resorted to violence to intimidate suspected radicals. As Britons were encouraged to form armed associations to defend against a possible French invasion, anyone suspected of harbouring disloyalty to the British king and constitution faced the threat of physical force.
The French Revolution occurred at a time when rapid economic change was already altering the way ordinary British men and women led their lives. Both the Revolution itself and the wars which followed served to increase political awareness by stimulating intellectual debate and the artistic impulses of poets like Blake and Wordsworth or satirists like James Gillray, who found much rich material in exaggerating the extremes of opinion on either side.
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This book is a major achievement and I can only hope that the author will extend his project into the nineteenth century, and continue his impressive exploration of natural rights. White's Natural Rights and the Birth of Romanticism in the s is an excellent survey of how some of the key concepts of Romanticism came into being. Claver, The Heythrop Journal. Its range is excellent, and its attention to political nuance in some familiar texts is rewarding.
Romanticism and the Rural Community
Natural Rights and the Birth of Romanticism in the 1790s
Buy eBook. Buy Hardcover. Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Natural Rights and the Birth of Romanticism in the s by R. Following the American War of Independence and the French Revolution, ideas of the 'Natural Rights of Man' later distinguished into particular issues like rights of association, rights of women, slaves, children and animals were publicly debated in England.
Literary figures like Wollstonecraft, Godwin, Thelwall, Blake and Wordsworth reflected these struggles in their poe Following the American War of Independence and the French Revolution, ideas of the 'Natural Rights of Man' later distinguished into particular issues like rights of association, rights of women, slaves, children and animals were publicly debated in England. Literary figures like Wollstonecraft, Godwin, Thelwall, Blake and Wordsworth reflected these struggles in their poetry and fiction.
With the seminal influences of John Locke and Rousseau, these and many other writers laid for high Romantic Literature foundations that were not so much aesthetic as moral and political. This new study by R.
White provides a reinterpretation of the Enlightenment as it is currently understood. Get A Copy. Hardcover , pages.
Published April 3rd by Palgrave Macmillan first published January 1st More Details Original Title.