Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Where to go next?

The past few months have seen my blog focus on the social developments of the nineteenth century.  I am now in the process of rewriting this material and updating it to take account of more recent research to create an e-book that I intend to make available through my website and through my blog.   Having recently acquired a Sony Reader and downloaded some books from various sites on the Internet, I am increasingly convinced that this provides a good and cost-effective way of making materials more readily available to interested individuals.  I have already converted my study of nineteenth century women and some of the sources for Norman history into the requisite pdf format.  The big advantage of doing this is that it is easy to update materials in line with recent publications and, as a result, to give the materials an immediacy that is impossible in the printed format.  Reprinting a book or producing a second edition can take a considerable amount of time; revising an e-book is far easier.

This brings me to where I go next with my blog.  I intend to start looking at different aspects of nineteenth century politics beginning with Sir Robert Peel's career from 1830 through to his death two decades later.  That this also covers much of the period when Chartism was the major force in British radical politics is not coincidental since I think it is important to understand the political context within which Chartism developed and the impact that the policies of successive governments had on the movement.  How important, for example, was Gareth Steadman Jones' view of the 'mellowing of the state' associated in part by Peel's administration on the ways Chartists reacted to government policies on social and economic issues and how far were those policies refracted through the medium of Chartist aspirations?  As a result, it may be possible to access just how valid Jones' view actually is.

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