This original collection of critical essays on key issues of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century rural life, popular politics and beliefs brings together fifteen historians of the first rank. All have been closely associated with the influential figure of J. F. C. Harrison, and all share an interest in the importance of the intimately personal in history, as opposed to the history of impersonal institutions. Among the essays on popular belief are studies of millenarianism, the secularist tradition and a fascinating case study of American Muggletonianism - the last by the late E. P. Thompson. Other important essays address Chartism, gender and autobiography, vegetarianism and popular journalism. There are critical evaluations of the influence of America on British radicalism and socialism, on the motives that drove workers’ children to become teachers, and on the construction of images of English rural life.
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