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Showing posts from March, 2011

Full text of my letter to the Guardian

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This was in response to Simon Jenkins's article on the history of protest in Britain.

Simon Jenkins disparages the long history of non-violent protest in Britain. Surely we should be proud, rather than ashamed, of the fact that most protesters seek to "cause a genteel nuisance without breaching the law"? The essence of democracy, in contrast to tyrannical regimes abroad, is the right to peaceful protest. When protesters do turn violent, they are rightly denounced by the majority.

Jenkins suggests that the Peterloo massacre and Chartism were failures because they did not lead to a "national uprising". This not only denigrates the memory of those who did lose their lives in the fight for the vote, but also misinterprets a major point of the radical movement. "Moral force" protesters saw that "physical force" would lead the government to military oppression. They believed that parliament would grant them their demands because of their peacefuln…

Richard J Evans on the need for critical thinking and nuanced themes within history teaching

LRB link here

I especially like this line: "Better History declares that ‘it is by the acquisition and use of historical knowledge that historians are primarily judged’ – but in reality that only makes a Mastermind contestant"

conduct into the behaviour of the Duke of York

Those historical parallels from the Napoleonic war period keep coming up again and again. First the attack on the Prince of Wales's coach; now calls from within parliament for an enquiry into the behaviour of the Duke of York. This time, 1809 style.

Link to the parliamentary debate here.

Thomas Rowlandson, 'The York March', 1809


See Philip Harling, 'The Duke of York Affair and the Complexities of Wartime Patriotism', in History, 39: 4 (1996)