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Title: The Whig oligarchy : representation and imagery, 1700-1733
Author: Tolley, S. G. A.
Awarding Body: University College London (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2013
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There has been a marked interest over the last decade in understanding the nature of early modern ‘public opinion’. One noticeable feature has been the utilisation of the vast array of cheap print, including pamphlets, ballads and newspapers, to highlight contemporary political interests. This thesis aims to use these resources to look at the popular representation of four key political figures of the early eighteenth century ‘Whig Oligarchy’, Charles 2nd Viscount Townshend, James 1st Earl of Stanhope, Charles 3rd Earl of Sunderland and Sir Robert Walpole. This research project attempts to reassess the importance of these figures in a cultural context and to offer a unique comparative framework, evaluating public concerns over ministerial lives, actions and initiatives. This is not a series of biographical accounts but an analysis of how these statesmen were viewed in different literary forms and imagery, revising the importance of ‘political personality’ to the early eighteenth century consumer. The tendency is often to portray Walpole’s rise to de facto prime minister as a solitary drama with a cast of supporting figures, creating a political history of the early eighteenth century that is often seen in terms of merely pre and post Walpole. This thesis sets Walpole in the milieu of his contemporaries, being just one of several influential figures who rose through the Whig party during the 1700’s and jostled for office during the 1710’s. There is a dearth in the current historiography of studies in ministerial representation, particularly in the period following George I’s accession to the British throne in 1714. This study will provide considerable insight into how early eighteenth century writers and artists perceived their political masters, helping to forge a truly national public profile around them - one that often transcended social and geographical boundaries.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available