Chapter

Introduction

Kathryn Gleadle

in Borderline Citizens

Published by British Academy

Published in print September 2009 | ISBN: 9780197264492
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734274 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5871/bacad/9780197264492.003.0001

Series: British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship Monographs

Introduction

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This book examines how it felt for women of the gentry and middle class to engage in politics in Britain during the early nineteenth century. It focuses on the period between the ending of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815 and the expansion of the formal political nation in 1867, a critical period in British history in which women were ‘borderline citizens’. The book considers the modes of participation and opportunities available to women and the ways in which they were able to articulate their activities and interests. There were multiple avenues for female political interaction, including petitioning, publication, pressure groups, and patronage. Given this, the frequency with which women known for their formidable political skills resorted to highly feminine personas in personal correspondence is striking. As the contours of the British state, and expectations of citizens' roles within it, underwent momentous changes, many aspects of political culture continued to be shaped by older modes of political expression and engagement.

Keywords: Britain; women; politics; gentry; middle class; borderline citizens; patronage; pressure groups; political culture

Chapter.  9404 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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