Liberty or Death: The Story of Thomas Hardy, Showmaker, and John Cartwright, Landowner, in the Early Struggles for Parliamentary Democracy

Liberty or Death: The Story of Thomas Hardy, Showmaker, and John Cartwright, Landowner, in the Early Struggles for Parliamentary Democracy

Liberty or Death: The Story of Thomas Hardy, Showmaker, and John Cartwright, Landowner, in the Early Struggles for Parliamentary Democracy

Liberty or Death: The Story of Thomas Hardy, Showmaker, and John Cartwright, Landowner, in the Early Struggles for Parliamentary Democracy

Synopsis

Liberty or Deathchronicles the dramas of the struggle for parliamentary reform in the latter half of the eighteenth century. It focuses on the lives of two very different political reformers, and through them highlights the contrasting attitudes to reform in the different layers of society.Thomas Hardy a Scottish shoemaker in 1792 founded the London Corresponding Society, the first political organisation for working men. In contrast, John Cartwright, a member of the landed gentry, drew support for his Society for Constitutional Information from the educated middle classes and the aristocracy.Although the two men met only once, their stories are interlinked through their support for a widening of voting rights, and the opposition they encountered.Campaigning as they were against the tumultuous political and social background of the American War of Independence and the French Revolution, their views were regarded as dangerously subversive. In 1794 charges of treason were brought against both societies and Hemmings documents the proceedings of these trials, including that of Hardy himself.Drawing on a wide range of contemporary sources, Hemmings brings to lightthe actions and attitudes of eighteenth century political reformers, giving us an absorbing narrativeof a radical period of British history.
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