Policing the industrial order in the west of Scotland: the Radical War and its aftermath in the Glasgow Herald, 1819-20

Benchimol, A. (2022) Policing the industrial order in the west of Scotland: the Radical War and its aftermath in the Glasgow Herald, 1819-20. In: Carruthers, G., Gallagher, K. T., Lamont, C. and Smith, G. (eds.) 1820: Scottish Rebellion: Essays on a Nineteenth-Century Insurrection. John Donald: Edinburgh, pp. 74-92. ISBN 9781910900833

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The essay explores the ways that the Glasgow Herald was part of a wider civic-political project of policing the Glasgow industrial region in the key stages of the so-called ‘Radical War’, from 1819-1820, when a confluence of economic and social factors, including rising prices, food shortages, wage cuts and a wider economic downturn combined to temporarily destabilize the urban industrial order in the west of Scotland. This episode features an insurrectionary political movement animating its unpredictable spread throughout the region during the key days of the conflict, and a specific class of workers—handloom weavers—as the aggrieved vehicle of protest against a modernizing industrial order which had left them behind in its next stage of development. The propagandizing role of the Glasgow Herald and that of its magistrate-editor Samuel Hunter in this episode was crucial to establishing a consensus amongst the civic and commercial elite for policing the urban region’s volatile industrial order, reflected in the distinctive features of the 1821 iteration of the Glasgow Police Act, with its emphasis on new methods of ideological surveillance and the suppression of political unrest in the aftermath of the Radical War.

Item Type:Book Sections
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Benchimol, Dr Alex
Authors: Benchimol, A.
Subjects:D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
College/School:College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > English Literature
Research Group:Scottish Romanticism Research Group
Publisher:John Donald

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