Liberty and Authority in Victorian Britain

Liberty and Authority in Victorian Britain

By: Peter Mandler (editor)Hardback

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Victorian Britain is often considered as the high point of 'laissez-faire', the place and the time when people were most 'free' to make their own lives without the aid or interference of the State. This book explores the truth of that assumption and what it might mean. It considers what the Victorian State did or did not do, what were the prevailing definitions and practices of 'liberty', what other sources of discipline and authority existed beyond the State to structure people's lives - in sum, what were the broad conditions under which such a profound belief in 'liberty' could flourish, and a complex society be run on those principles. Contributors include leading scholars in British political, social and cultural history, so that 'liberty' is seen in the round, not just as a set of ideas or of political slogans, but also as a public and private philosophy that structured everyday life. Consideration is also given to the full range of British subjects in the nineteenth century - men, women, people of all classes, from all parts of the British Isles - and to placing the British experience in a global and comparative perspective.

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About Author

Educated at Oxford and Harvard universities, Peter Mandler has taught British history on both sides of the Atlantic and since 2001 at Cambridge University, where he is Reader in Modern British History and a Fellow of Gonville and Caius College. His most recent book is a history of the idea of the English national character, 'from Burke to Blair'. He is currently working on the intellectual history of 'national identity' and its precursors and is co-director of a Leverhulme Trust-funded project on Victorian attitudes to past, present and future, 'Abandoning the Past', run by the Cambridge Victorian Studies Group. He has been honorary secretary of the Royal Historical Society and is currently co-editor of the Historical Journal.


1. Introduction: State and Society in Victorian Britain ; I: THE STATE ; 2. The Powers of the Victorian State ; 3. The Victorian State in Comparative Perspective ; II: LIBERTIES ; 4. Liberalism and Liberty ; 5. Radicalism and Liberty ; 6. Women and Liberty ; III: AUTHORITIES ; 7. The Authority of the Law ; 8. The Authority of the Church ; IV: DISCIPLINES ; 9. Market Disciplines ; 10. Moral Disciplines ; Index

Product Details

  • publication date: 20/07/2006
  • ISBN13: 9780199271337
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 272
  • ID: 9780199271337
  • weight: 445
  • ISBN10: 019927133X

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