This thesis uncovers political culture in Northampton borough from 1768-1868 through the study of parliamentary elections. The thesis provides a comprehensive method of studying political culture at a local level. Northampton is an example of an 'open' pre-reform borough in which a large proportion of men were able to vote in parliamentary elections; pollbooks, political ephemera, newspapers and correspondence have been used to provide both a qualitative and quantitative analysis of the borough's elections. By analysing gender and space history alongside more traditional approaches to political history such as examining party politics, politicians and pollbook analysis, this thesis shows the importance of linking various methodologies to provide a complete picture of political culture. This study argues that the home was used as a political space during pre-reform elections due to election customs and the exchange of property. It shows the involvement of non-elite women in pre-reform elections through their role as homeowners and witnessses. By testing 'new political history' this study argues that the constituency was not solely constructed by politicians, and nor did it mirror national agenda: local political rhetoric was actually of a pragmatic nature, and shifted to suit the electorate and encompass common social terminology. This thesis argues that practical changes made by reforms of parliament facilitated ideological shifts and had unintended consequences. Finally, this thesis suggests that political culture must focus on the practicalities of politics at the local level.
|Date of Award||2010|
- University of Northampton
|Supervisor||Matthew McCormack (Supervisor)|