Skip to main content Skip to navigation

The Culture of the Crowd

The eighteenth-century crowd has received a great deal of attention from historians. Debates focus on the composition of the crowd and its political significance. This seminar will consider the cultural impact of the crowd on British politics.

Suggested Reading

  • Nicholas Rogers, Crowds, culture and politics in Georgian Britain
  • John Bohstedt, Riots and community politics
  • J Stevenson, Popular Disturbances in England, 1700-1832
  • E P Thompson, ‘The moral economy of the English crowd’, Past and Present, 1971; ‘Patrician society, plebeian culture’, Journal of Social History, 1974 and ‘Eighteenth-century English society: class struggle without class’, Social History, 1978
  • Peter Jones, 'Swing, Speenhamland and rural social relations : the 'moral economy' of the English crowd in the nineteenth century', Social History, 2007
  • Clare Brand and Susan Whyman, Walking the streets of eighteenth-century London


Research the cultural signficance of a particular political crowd. Examples could be: 1688, Excise crisis, Gordon Riots, Peterloo, Queen Caroline etc. Suggestions for sources include ECCO, eighteenth-century newspapers, Bodleian collection of pamphlets and broadsheets, British Museum Prints and Drawings database.


    Hogarth, Gin Lane (Web gallery of Art)