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Eighteenth-Century Britain: A Very Short Introduction

Paul Langford

Publication Date - August 2005

ISBN: 9780192853998

118 pages

In Stock

Retail Price to Students: $11.95

An authoritative guide to the Age of Enlightenment in Britain


While the rest of eighteenth century Europe was embroiled in revolution and unrest, Britain embarked on an era of comparative calm and stability. Two attempts by the Stuarts to reclaim the throne were easily put down, not through the power of the British military, but through the general apathy of the British people, who were just not in the mood to join in the rebellions enjoyed by the American colonies and the French. Also known as the Age of Enlightenment, this was a time for intellectual growth, as improved literacy rates and the introduction of newspapers paved the way for a more educated middle class. This was also an ideal time for the initial flourishing of the British Empire, as Britain took advantage of its rivals' troubles to further its aims abroad. This comprehensive and authoritative guide takes a thematic approach to eighteenth-century history, covering such topics as domestic politics, religious developments and changes to social demographics. It presents a full picture of an era of reform and growth.


  • Most comprehensive and authoritative short guide to eighteenth-century Britain
  • Highly acclaimed text, first published in the best-selling The Oxford Illustrated History of Britain
  • Revised and updated for this edition
  • Indispensable for students and general readers

About the Author(s)

Paul Langford has been Professor of Modern History, University of Oxford, since 1996; Fellow, and Tutor in Modern History, Lincoln College, since 1970; Chairman and Chief Executive, Arts and Humanities Research Board, since 1998. His publications include A Polite and Commercial People 1727-83 (1989) and Public Life and the Propertied Englishman 1689-1789 (1991).

Table of Contents

    1. Revolution and its repercussions
    2. The rise of Robinocracy
    3. Industry and idleness
    4. The making of middle England
    5. The politics of protest
    6. Rebellion and reform
    Further reading
    Prime ministers 1721-89

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