Stability and Strife: England, 17141760 (New History of England)

  • Publish Date: 1979-11-15
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Author: William Arthur Speck
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This sparkling account of the great age of Whiggery during the reigns of George I and II is distinguished by its attention to social history. The author deftly explains how the political transformation which brought an end to the rage of party under Queen Anne and ushered in the strife of faction under the Hanoverians was related to social and economic conditions. This major political change brought stability to England andby important, though incremental shifts in mobility, religion, agriculture, industry, and literacyslowly transformed English society.

W. A. Speck argues that in 1714 England was ruled by rival elites called Tory and Whig and that by 1760 they had fused to form a ruling class. This union became possible as divisive issues faded and economic and political interests were shared. Whiggery itself, however, split apart for lesser reasons. Country Whigs were restorationists on moral and religious grounds while Court Whigsneither Saints, nor Spartans, nor Reformerscreated the mechanisms to realize the promise of the Glorious Revolution of 1689: mixed monarchy, property and liberty, and Protestantism.

Stability and Strife is the most up-to-date book in English eighteenth-century history in its methodsthe use of social science data and literary sourcesand in its sophisticated topical and narrative approaches to this fascinating era.