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Soldiers as CitizensPopular Politics and the Nineteenth-Century British Military$
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Nick Mansfield

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781789620863

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781789620863.001.0001

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Protest and Subversion, 1790–1850

Protest and Subversion, 1790–1850

(p.57) 4 Protest and Subversion, 1790–1850
Soldiers as Citizens

Nick Mansfield

Liverpool University Press

This chapter outlines government concerns about the danger of insurrection in the early nineteenth century and fear of soldiers’ subversion and involvement on the side of radical revolution. It reviews the reality of these claims, analysing soldiers’ involvement in key events and incidents. These range through riots and protests in the 1790s, the distribution of radical handbills subverting troops, the Despard Conspiracy, Luddism, the Post War discontent of 1815-6, working-class drilling and the use of government spies, Peterloo, the Scottish revolt of 1820, the Cato Street Conspiracy, the Queen Caroline agitation, the Reform Crisis of 1831-2, and Chartism. The chapter concludes that whilst some threats were serious, British rank and file soldiers always obeyed officers and did their duty to Crown and country, so revolution was unlikely.

Keywords:   Radicalism, Revolution, Subversion, Riots, Luddism, Trade Unions, Peterloo, Queen Caroline, Cato Street Conspiracy, Chartism

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