By Derek Hirst

Contested elections grew to become a truth of political lifestyles for the 1st time in early-17th-century England because the gentry pressed for seats in a parliament which used to be starting to be more and more vital. Dr Hirst examines politics from the viewpoint of the normal guy sooner than the Civil warfare. He asks what an election and being represented intended: what sort of individual voted; how did he vote and why; and what may he achieve through it. England used to be now not but formed within the oligarchic mold that characterized it within the 18th century, and a outstanding characteristic of this era was once the level to which parliamentary politics was once open to a wide social team. Inflation and peasant survival at the land, and resistance to oligarchy within the boroughs (supported through the parliamentary gentry looking renowned allies for his or her personal political battles), produced a large rural and concrete citizens. the necessity for votes additionally ensured that contributors have been quite aware of, and consultant of, pressures from lower than. In arriving at this verdict, Dr Hirst demanding situations the concept that politics during this interval displayed a powerful experience of course. in any respect degrees, even if within the technique of keep an eye on hired by means of the magnates, in electoral strategy, or in vote casting behaviour, uncertainty was once show up, for contests have been remarkable.

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