Bodies Politic

Paul Slack

in From Reformation to Improvement

Published in print September 1998 | ISBN: 9780198206613
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191677243 | DOI:
Bodies Politic

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  • Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)


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This chapter explores multiple agencies of virtue and welfare. An examination of welfare activity in the quarter-century from 1714 to 1740 brings into focus the subject of agency. Some of these institutions were agents of local government, from county quarter sessions down to the vestries of the civil parish. Some were corporations, while others were formally charitable trusts and less formal voluntary associations. They were all in a more general sense ‘political bodies’. These contending associations included many of the subsidiary bodies run by men of property which shaped the competitive public world of Hanoverian England. They also determined much of the quality and quantity of its welfare activity. When there was no single authority able to impose reformation in the name of a single public good, several lesser agents pursued improvement in a number of them.

Keywords: bodies politic; public good; Hanoverian England; charitable agency; welfare activity

Chapter.  12911 words. 

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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