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Title: The dangerous classes in late Victorian England : some reflections on the social foundations of disturbance and order, with special reference to London in the eighteen-eighties
Author: Bailey, Victor
ISNI:       0000 0001 3436 9816
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 1975
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Legal systems are deeply affected by the social situation in which they function: by the content of contemporary debate on poverty, crime and disorder; by the social relations of the propertied and the poor. They have been infrequently analysed in terms of such influences. Historians have too readily accepted, for instance, the accolades to the reformed urban legal structure of the 1830s; eager to record the Benthamite march of progress to efficient yet disinterested juridical authority. The 'utilitarian' formula of judicial administration, unclouded by partisan concerns, was inherently unlikely. The form of judicial appointment, alone, provides cause for scepticism. Crown appointment to the borough bench never extinguished a spoils system of magisterial reward for political service, dispensed by the urban patriciate. Emphasis on the reformed features of London's legal framework has similarly obscured the fact that even within this professional structure, social and political factors played a decisive role in law enforcement due notably to governmental responsibility for social order. A detailed overview of the urban and metropolitan legal systems is provided in the first two chapters with the intention that it will inform the subsequent appreciation of the bond between the social and legal components of popular disturbance in the 1880s. The chapters on election and religious disturbances assess the relationship between the social character of disorder, the socio-political interests of the lay magistracy, and the resultant pattern of law enforcement. Integral to the assessment is the urban elite's tolerance of forms of riot which sustained more than challenged the current arrangement of social authority. In contrast, London's social elite felt threatened by the denizens of the East End slums, foci of the outcast poor, the alien and the criminal. An examination of the metropolitan legal policy, devised to repress unemployed disorder in the mid- 1880s, consequently centres on the middle-class fear of the "dangerous classes" a mental construct which embraced the apprehensions of pauperism, crime and riot. The overall aim in what follows has been to relate the insights of the social historian to an understanding of the administration of law.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Institute of Historical Research, University of London
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: DA Great Britain ; HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform