Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Raining cats and dogs: The challenges of running for political office in the past

Date:
January 30, 2014
Source:
Newcastle University
Summary:
Modern politicians may feel they have it tough -- but they should thank their lucky stars they weren’t standing for election in the Westminster constituency in 1741. On that occasion, angry voters pelted the candidates and the tellers with dead cats and dogs, dirt, stones and sticks.

Modern politicians may feel they have it tough -- but they should thank their lucky stars they weren't standing for election in the Westminster constituency in 1741. On that occasion, angry voters pelted the candidates and the tellers with dead cats and dogs, dirt, stones and sticks.

It's a striking image, which fits with a Hogarthian view of the eighteenth century. Yet experts from Newcastle University argue that such rumbustious episodes were very far from the whole story. They are putting the full history of London's elections under the spotlight to present a new view.

Their arguments and evidence are freely available in a new website, http://www.londonelectoralhistory.com, which is accompanied by their new book Elections in Metropolitan London 1700-1850.

Author Professor Penelope Corfield, a Visiting Professor in Newcastle University's School of History, Classics and Archaeology, said: "We were interested in the period 1700 and 1850 as it was the time before true democracy, but it was a key era which allowed democracy to happen. So while women couldn't vote, many men, from a wide range of social backgrounds, could do -- and did so enthusiastically.

"Our investigations show that the number of elections which took place is staggering. Between 1700 and 1852, there were 873 recorded contests across metropolitan London. That meant 174 parliamentary elections alone, 93 for municipal posts and 595 for modest but vital positions such as common councilman, alderman or beadle. We think even more may actually have taken place."

Newcastle Research Fellow Dr Edmund Green explained further: "It was a great research discovery to find reports of these forgotten elections in the eighteenth-century London newspapers. Tens of thousands of Londoners voted regularly, with levels of turnout that put today's stay-at-home no-voters to shame. Our website and database make information about these pioneer voters available to all."

Professor Charles Harvey, Pro Vice Chancellor for Humanities and Social Science at Newcastle University said: "These resources certainly give a unique insight into how voting and democracy was developing in the 18th Century. Around a quarter of a million individuals polled half a million times -casting, in multi-member seats, a million votes.

"Throwing cats and dogs was a striking way for voters in one election to protest. But in most cases, these eighteenth-century elections were conducted seriously. In fact, these voters, all named individually in our website database, were taking the first steps on the road to real democracy. "


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Newcastle University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Newcastle University. "Raining cats and dogs: The challenges of running for political office in the past." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 January 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140130092935.htm>.
Newcastle University. (2014, January 30). Raining cats and dogs: The challenges of running for political office in the past. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140130092935.htm
Newcastle University. "Raining cats and dogs: The challenges of running for political office in the past." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140130092935.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) A new study says the season you're born in can determine your temperament — and one season has a surprising outcome. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Nigeria Beat Its Ebola Outbreak

How Nigeria Beat Its Ebola Outbreak

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) The World Health Organization has declared Nigeria free of Ebola. Health experts credit a bit of luck and the government's initial response. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Worries End for Dozens on U.S. Watch Lists

Ebola Worries End for Dozens on U.S. Watch Lists

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 20, 2014) Forty-three people who had contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S., were cleared overnight of twice-daily monitoring after 21 days of showing no symptoms. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins