• Essays on Electoral History by Penelope J. Corfield

3.4 Electoral History

3.4.1 Introducing London’s Eighteenth-Century Electoral History (2013), PDF30
This summary introduction provides a short guide to the big research project into London Electoral History 1700-1850, undertaken by PJC, Edmund M. Green and Charles Harvey. Highlighted are: the interpretative accounts which provide a complete analysis of metropolitan electoral history; the explanations of the variant franchisal qualifications, which (before 1832) varied from constituency to constituency; the discussion of the complexities of classification, including social nomenclature; and the full listing of all metropolitan polls in the long eighteenth century, including many hitherto unknown contests. Full documentation is published in E.M. Green, P.J. Corfield and C. Harvey, Elections in Metropolitan London, 1700-1850: Vol. 1, Arguments and Evidence; and Vol. 2, Metropolitan Polls (Bristol, 2013). Can be read in conjunction with 3.4.2.

3.4.2 Proto-Democracy in Eighteenth-Century London: Summary (2013), Pdf34
This essay explains and defines the emergence of Proto-Democracy in Eighteenth-Century London. That abstract term has been chosen by PJC to highlight the active constitutional participation by many male Londoners in frequent and regular elections, long before electoral reform in 1832. The evidence and analysis is important and remains valid, whether or not PJC’s preferred terminology is accepted. This short summary appears as section 1.10 within the substantial volume by E.M. Green, P.J. Corfield and C. Harvey, Elections in Metropolitan London, 1700-1850: Vol. 1 Arguments and Evidence (Bristol, 2013), pp. 55-67. Can be read in conjunction with 3.4.1, 3.4.3 and 3.4.4.

3.4.3 What’s Wrong with the Old Electoral Practice of Open Voting, Standing Up to be Counted? (BLOG/ 53, May 2015) – updated text
This accounts discusses the merits as well as the problems in the old practice of open voting (in UK before 1872), when electors voted publicly as an act of civic participation – on the record. Can be read in conjunction with 3.4.1, 3.4.2 and 3.4.4.

3.4.4 The Value of Voting – and Why the Procedure Should not be Mocked (BLOG/ 63, March 2016) – updated text to download
Can be read in conjunction with 3.4.1, 3.4.2 and 3.4.3.

3.4.5 Eighteenth-Century Rankings of Lords and Ladies (2013), Pdf35
This essay provides a concise guide to the rankings of titles for men and women, plus the contemporary rules of precedence, which were current in eighteenth-century London. It did not follow, of course, that such social rules were always strictly obeyed. But it is helpful to understand the conventions, so that the comparative status conferred by different titles is properly understood – and the extent of social improvisation and divergence can be properly interpreted. This essay originally appeared as section 7.13, prepared by P.J. Corfield for publication in E.M. Green, P.J. Corfield and C. Harvey, Elections in Metropolitan London, 1700-1850: Vol. 1, Arguments and Evidence (Bristol, 2013), pp. 457-77; Can be read in conjunction with 3.4.1 and 3.4.2.

3.4.6 Classifying Historical Occupations into Economic Sectors: Problems and Potential (2013), Pdf17
This essay considers the general issues raised by classifying historical occupations, and then offers a new multi-level coding system, to indicate economic sectors. In detail, the following sections cover: (1) general issues; (2) problems in attempting to classify occupations into broad economic fields; (3) common classifications proposed for pre-industrial economies and problems arising; (4) the Booth/Armstrong classification for occupations in industrial economics – and the enriched four-tier version, indicating economic sectors; and (5) concluding comments on individual occupational attributions.

3.4.7 Classifying Historical Occupations by Social Class: Uncertainties about Status within Occupations and about the Number of Classes (2013), Pdf36
Deciphering the social class of people in past societies from occupational data is not as straightforward a task as historians (and others) often assume. There are considerable dangers of projecting backwards twenty-first-century assumptions about the ranking of any particular form of work. For example, the occupation of ‘engineer’ has relatively high status today; but did not necessarily have a high ranking in the eighteenth century. In addition, generalised descriptions like ‘weaver’ might conceal either an affluent master or an impoverished journeyman. Furthermore, even after deciding upon the status of any given occupation, it is even more difficult to be certain about something as apparently simple as the number of different social classes at any one time. Estimates, both past and present, vary. Social ‘class’ is not simply fixed ‘out there’ in the occupational evidence, waiting to be tallied. It was and is a fluid concept, which means that historians’ reconstructions must not be taken as tablets inscribed in stone.

3.4.8 Towards Democracy: The Significance of Britain’s Eighteenth-Century Electorate, Pdf70
PJC returns to restate the long-term importance of Britain’s eighteenth-century electorate, with a discussion that develops from earlier items 3.4.1-4; and which also appears in Newcastle University’s website for the project ‘Eighteenth-Century Political Participation & Electoral Culture/Features’: https://ecppec.ncl.ac.uk/features/