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Dare to be Free

This (slighly damaged) election leaflet was circulated during the 1774 parliamentary election in Warwick Borough. It rails against ‘placemen’ and vested interests in politics and repeatedly raises the ideas of liberty, independence and freedom for Britons, which the anonymous author of the leaflet argues have their roots in the Magna Carta and 1688 Glorious Revolution.

One of the demands of the author is for a return to triennial parliaments (i.e. elections every three years). These were first introduced in 1641, abolished in 1664 (after the restoration of the monarchy following the Civil War), and then briefly reintroduced between 1694-1716. The latter period, sometimes known as the 'Rage of Party', was a politically turbulent time, characterised by a rapid turnover of governments and rising factionalism between two new political groups - the Whigs and Tories.

This document is from a small collection of political ephemera included in the 'Miscellaneous collection'; document reference: MSS.21/1330/2.

More examples of election leaflets from the late 18th and early 19th century are included in our online collection of Warwickshire political ephemera, 1774-1874. This includes items from the archive collections of the Modern Records Centre and Warwickshire County Record Office.

Dare to be free