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David Coast: ‘Speaking for the People in Early Modern England’
2 March, 2017 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
This paper examines the authority of what might loosely be called “public opinion” in political and religious polemics in England from c. 1529 – 1640. One important strand of elite political rhetoric portrayed the common people as an ignorant and potentially rebellious many-headed multitude who were susceptible to seditious rumour. Yet some polemicists were willing to argue that the vox populi was the vox dei, and enlisted the supposed views of the common people in support of a variety of political and religious causes. This paper examines the arguments employed by these tracts and how they changed over time. These tracts challenge claims that political communication was governed by ‘norms of secrecy and privilege’ prior to the advent of mass petitioning in the 1640s.
Thursday lunchtime programme coordinated jointly by the postgraduate-run Early Modern Discussion Group and SCEMS. Sponsored by the Arts & Humanities Post Graduate Forum.