John Wilkes: A Friend to Liberty

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OUP Oxford, Mar 28, 1996 - Biography & Autobiography - 280 pages
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Often deemed the founder of British radicalism, John Wilkes (1725-1797) had a shattering impact on the politics of his time. His audacity in challenging government authority was matched by his skill and determination in attaining his objectives: the freedom of the press to criticize ministers and report Parliament; enhanced security for individuals and their property from arbitrary arrest and seizure; and the rights of electors. That he was a political maverick, of witty and wicked reputation, has led historians to underestimate him - this is the first researched biography since 1917. Contemporaries appreciated his achievements more than posterity, one obituarist writing that `his name will be connected with our history'. In this fascinating and original biography, Peter Thomas provides an intriguing portrait of the man George III referred to as `that Devil, Wilkes'.
 

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Contents

Youth and Pleasure 17251761
5
Gadfly of Government 17611763
13
The Case of North Briton Number FortyFive
27
4 French Leave 17631768
57
Election for Middlesex 1768
70
Expulsion from Middlesex 1769
93
The Bill of Rights Society 17691771
109
The Wilkes Coup of 1771
125
1o Wilkes and America
159
Parliamentary Politician 1774179o
176
Work and Leisure 17761797
200
Radical or Rascal
215
Select Bibliography
221
Notes
229
Index
271
Copyright

City Politician 17711775
141

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About the author (1996)


Professor of Modern History at the University of Wales in Aberystwyth, Peter D. G. Thomas is the author of numerous studies in eighteenth-century politics.

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