Voting Communities In The West Riding Of Yorkshire In The Early Eighteenth Century.




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Taylor and Francis



Peer reviewed



In this article Richard Hall notes that county elections played an important role in legitimating the Augustan and Hanoverian political structure. But while the high politics of the era is well documented, there has been little serious investigation of the electors. Contemporaries recognized the importance of the county voter, regarding the ‘forty-shilling freeholder’ as the guardian of the national liberties. The reality depends on how far these voters were capable of independent political action and the article examines the relations of the voters to the political leaders in five West Riding townships in the early eighteenth century. Dr Hall suggests that to assess the independence of voters, and the working of the deference/independence model of political action, a more holistic approach is needed. This involves linking socio-economic information about individuals to their voting records. Such analysis suggests that a significant group of electors had the socio-economic standing to show a degree of political independence. Thus once the political leadership forced an election, they activated a wider nexus of responsibilities which gave the freeholders a measure of political power.


The attached file is the authors final peer reviewed version. The publisher's version can be found by following the DOI.


psephology, electoral history, eighteenth century, British History


Hall. R. (2000) Voting Communities In The West Riding Of Yorkshire In The Early Eighteenth Century. Parliaments, Estates and Representations, 20 (1), pp. 91-109


Research Institute

Institute for Research in Criminology, Community, Education and Social Justice
Centre for Urban Research on Austerity (CURA)