The Propertied Mind

Paul Langford

in Public Life and the Propertied Englishman 1689–1798

Published in print August 1994 | ISBN: 9780198205340
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191676574 | DOI:

Series: Ford Lectures

The Propertied Mind

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This chapter focuses on how property influenced many aspects of life of the British population during the 18th century. It expounds the views of property which were entertained by ordinary Britons, often in a homely setting and with little regard for logic or consistency. The emphasis is on the ways in which commercial development complicated definitions of property and the political priorities which were supposed to flow from respect for property. A world without property was almost inconceivable to 18th-century Englishmen. The respect which attended property was a striking feature of the mental landscape of the 18th century. Liberty was a timeless human value supposedly subjected to the hegemony of property. Expansive definitions of property were deeply entrenched. The acquisition of wealth was the route to social acceptance and political power at all levels of society.

Keywords: property; social life; liberty; church; 18th century; Great Britain

Chapter.  34051 words. 

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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