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Crown, Church and Constitution: Popular Conservatism in England, 1815-1867

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Volume 4

Studies in British and Imperial History

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Crown, Church and Constitution

Popular Conservatism in England, 1815-1867

Jörg Neuheiser
Translated from the German by Jennifer Walcoff Neuheiser

318 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-140-4 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (May 2016)

eISBN 978-1-78533-141-1 eBook

Hb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook! $34.95 Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“Neuheiser’s work provides a useful corrective to the view that the lower classes’ identities and political activity were driven exclusively or even chiefly by narrow economic or bread-and-butter concerns in the early and mid-nineteenth century.” • History: Reviews of New Books

“This is a powerful book that questions many orthodoxies, but it is not a revisionist polemic, the mode being constantly to touch the tiller rather than attempt any sudden tack. As such, there can be few books in which an author engages quite so thoroughly in conversation with his secondary sources, and to that end the discursive reference sections seem entirely appropriate.” • English Historical Review

“The German Historical Institute is to be commended for appreciating the value of this study by publishing an English translation of a title that originally appeared in German…Neuheiser makes some insightful criticisms of the established historiography on popular politics, and his study is a useful corrective to an over-emphasis on popular radicalism and protest…As this welcome contribution to the historiography attests, the debates surrounding Britain’s avoidance of revolution, the character of popular politics, and the extent of popular monarchism and anti-Catholicism in British society are far from over.” • Journal of Church and State

“Neuheiser’s book is a fascinating and important monograph for all scholars and students of British political history. It is also a timely and pertinent one. At last, more and more nineteenth-century political and intellectual history is beginning to realise the importance of the constitution for shaping political identities. As Neuheiser shows, the liberties of the English, or British, Constitution could be treasured and defended just as fiercely by the English working classes as by their social superiors right across the political spectrum.” • Cercles. Revue pluridisciplinaire du monde Anglophone

“All in all, Jörg Neuheiser offers a well‐crafted and well‐drafted example of "seeing the masses", especially conservative plebeians, in 19 century English social history. The text…stands out for its clarity and attention to detail. It is also a condensed and tightly written volume…Having been favourably received by the German‐speaking community, Neuheiser's important study will now be appreciated by a larger number of both specialists of the 19 century English lower classes, and more general readers interested in how to write social history as a cultural history of political communication.” • Sehepunkte

“Neuheiser’s study enriches the scholarship on England, without question. He does not turn prevailing interpretations upside down; rather, his study shows that interpretations of English social history continue to be hotly debated and will remain a field for further research for some time to come.” • Neue Politische Literatur

“This is a remarkable study that offers new perspectives methodically through skillful linking of discourse analysis and social protest as well as through new material. Its results cannot be ignored in future research.” • Historische Zeitschrift

“Carefully arguing against influential, if not dominant, research positions, Neuheiser… manages to shed new light onto a number of research discussions… Overall, his argument is convincing, particularly when he is able to point out that working-class people acted independently and occasionally took the initiative.” • H-Soz-u-Kult


Much scholarship on nineteenth-century English workers has been devoted to the radical reform politics that powerfully unsettled the social order in the century’s first decades. Comparatively neglected have been the impetuous patriotism, royalism, and xenophobic anti-Catholicism that countless men and women demonstrated in the early Victorian period. This much-needed study of the era’s “conservatism from below” explores the role of religion in everyday culture and the Tories’ successful mobilization across class boundaries. Long before they were able to vote, large swathes of the lower classes embraced Britain’s monarchical, religious, and legal institutions in the defense of traditional English culture.

Jörg Neuheiser is a lecturer at the Eberhard Karls University in Tübingen, Germany. In addition to publications on British politics and the Irish question, he has written several articles on German and transnational histories of labor, politics, and culture. His current book project examines attitudes toward work and unemployment in Germany.

Subject: History: 18th/19th Century
Area: Europe




Chapter 1. Celebrating the Monarchy: Loyalism, Radicalism and the Crowd, 1820–1832

  • Analysing Crowds and the Popularity of the Monarchy
  • The Monarchy in the Provinces
  • The Capital Celebrates the Crown

Chapter 2. ‘True Friends of Her Majesty’: Plebeian Conservatives and Crown, Constitution and Patriotism

  • Operative Conservative Associations and Popular Constitutionalism
  • The Crown and the Constitution in Election Campaigns and Celebrations
  • National Elements and Local Differences

Chapter 3. ‘Above All, Be Faithful to Your God’: Confessional Conflicts and Plebeian Conservatives

  • The Conflicts over the Emancipation of the Catholics
  • Contesting the Cities: Confessional Conflicts in Local Power Struggles
  • Conservative Constitutionalism after Catholic Emancipation

Chapter 4. Conservative Antics, Protest or Racism? Anti-Catholic Aspects of English Street Culture

  • Guy Fawkes Day Celebrations before 1850
  • The ‘Papal Aggression’ and Its Consequences
  • The English Orange Order and Preachers of ‘No-Popery’
  • Protest, Spectacles and Anti-Catholicism: St George’s-in-the-East, 1859–1860

Chapter 5. In the Name of Inequality? Tory Radicalism, Social Protest and Plebeian Ideas of Justice

  • Social Structures and the Political Language of Protest in the 1830s
  • Local Alliances between Tories and Radicals
  • Oastler's Friends? The Operative Conservative Associations after 1842

Chapter 6. ‘Beer and Britannia’ or ‘Moral Reform’? Paternalistic Populism, Self-Improvement and Gender

  • Early Paternalism and Calls for Moral Reform
  • The Family, Domesticity and the Political Mobilization of Women



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