Rethinking the Age of Reform: Britain 1780-1850

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This book takes a look at the 'age of reform', from 1780 when reform became a common object of aspiration, to the 1830s - the era of the 'Reform Ministry' and of the Great Reform Act of 1832 - and beyond, when such aspirations were realized more frequently. It pays close attention to what contemporaries termed 'reform', identifying two strands, institutional and moral, which interacted in complex ways. Particular reforming initiatives singled out for attention include those targeting parliament, government, the law, the Church, medicine, slavery, regimens of self-care, opera, theatre, and art institutions, while later chapters situate British reform in its imperial and European contexts. An extended introduction provides a point of entry to the history and historiography of the period. The book will therefore stimulate fresh thinking about this formative period of British history.