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.
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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.Review:
"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
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