Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Majesty of the PeoplePopular Sovereignty and the Role of the Writer in the 1790s$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Georgina Green

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199689064

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199689064.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 24 October 2020

Assembling the People

Assembling the People

John Thelwall and the London Corresponding Society

(p.41) 2 Assembling the People
The Majesty of the People

Green Georgina

Oxford University Press

Chapter two looks at 1790s extra-parliamentary activism, which challenged the idea that the people have no political existence outside of Parliament and the concept of ‘virtual representation’. The legitimacy of London Corresponding Society popular assemblies and petitions were debated in parliament and print culture in 1795 and 1796. In one interpretation of the English constitution, revealed by these debates, the people as a whole have no political existence whatsoever. London Corresponding Society popular assemblies challenge this view, and John Thelwall, too, represents a commitment to the importance of popular assembly in giving the people a voice and political existence. This commitment is explored via a discussion of his conflict with William Godwin, who argues that reason cannot be exercised in crowded assemblies. This conflict involves reflection on how texts are received and the importance of the situation of reading.

Keywords:   John Thelwall, William Godwin, London Corresponding Society, popular assembly, virtual representation, petitions

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .