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Sources and Debates in Modern British History: 1714 to the Present

Ellis Wasson (Editor)
ISBN: 978-1-4443-3371-8
336 pages
January 2012, Wiley-Blackwell
Sources and Debates in Modern British History: 1714 to the Present (1444333712) cover image


Designed to complement the author's A History of Modern Britain, this collection of primary sources illuminates and augments the study of modern Britain with coverage of political, imperial, and economic history as well as class and cultural issues
  • Features a broad range of documents, in a well-structured and easy-to-use format, including important, well-known documents and lesser-known excerpts from memoirs and private correspondence
  • Provides up-to-date, balanced coverage of political, imperial, social, economic, and cultural history with over 180 documents
  • Offers a thorough rendering of social class and national identity, including coverage of changes in British society over the last 20 years
  • Includes discussion questions for each document, as well as lists of historical debates and extensive bibliographies of both on-line and traditional sources for students' further research
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Table of Contents

List of Documents xi

List of Figures xix

Preface xxi

Abbreviations xxix

Part I The Eighteenth Century 1

1 State and Empire 3

The Constitution 4

Threats to the Political and Social Order 11

The Sinews of Empire 18

North America 21

India 24

Historians' Debates 27

Counterfactuals to Consider 28

2 Economy and Society 29

Honor and Manners 30

The Struggle for Life and Wealth 35

The Poor Law 40

Economic Theory 43

Historians' Debates 51

Counterfactuals to Consider 52

3 Culture and Identity 53

The Scottish Enlightenment 54

The English Enlightenment 57

Education 62

The Romantic Movement 66

Women 68

Slavery 71

National Identities 76

Historians' Debates 80

Counterfactuals to Consider 81

Part II The Nineteenth Century 83

4 State and Empire 85

Radicalism and Protest 86

Constitutional Reform 1829–32 90

Further Parliamentary Reform 97

Party Ideologies 103

The Empire 109

The Origins of World War I 120

Historians' Debates 123

Counterfactuals to Consider 124

5 Economy and Society 127

Industrialization 128

Urban and Rural Life and Employment during Industrialization 135

Social Position and Money 142

Economic Theory 148

Historians' Debates 156

Counterfactuals to Consider 158

6 Culture and Identity 159

Women 160

Victorian Thinkers 169

Social Darwinism 177

British Identities 182

Irish Identities 185

Historians' Debates 191

Counterfactuals to Consider 193

Part III The Twentieth Century 195

7 State and Empire 197

World War I 198

World War II and the Cold War 201

Party Ideologies 211

The European Union 214

Empire to Commonwealth 217

Historians' Debates 227

Counterfactuals to Consider 229

8 Economy and Society 231

Traditional Society 232

Capitalism at Bay 238

War and Civilian Life 243

The Welfare State 245

Historians' Debates 253

Counterfactuals to Consider 255

9 Culture and Identity 257

Women 258

Minorities and Immigration 263

British Identities 271

Irish Identities 280

Historians' Debates 287

Counterfactuals to Consider 289

Bibliography 291

Index 297

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Author Information

Ellis Wasson earned his PhD in British history at Cambridge and teaches at Tower Hill School in Wilmington and the University of Delaware. He is the author of Whig Renaissance: Lord Althorp and the Whig Party 1782–1845 (1987), Born to Rule: British Political Elites (2000), and Aristocracy and the Modern World (2006), and has published numerous articles on the history of British politics and European landed society.

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‘Ellis Wasson’s Sources and Debates in Modern British History is an unusually well chosen and wide angling collection of major primary sources, which will prove of great value to undergraduates and graduate students alike who are studying modern British history. This collection makes available valuable primary source material about the great events and trends which shaped modern Britain. It is also notable for the wide range and even handedness of the material selected, a tribute to Dr. Wasson’s editorial skills.’
Bill Rubinstein, Aberyswyth University

'This is a collection of documents of immense richness from a wide variety of sources: parliamentary debates, official reports, cartoons, novels, high intellects, among others. They stretch from the 18th century to the present, from Adam Smith to Mrs. Thatcher. Dealing with state and society, workers and women, culture and empire, each short document is succinctly introduced. Every chapter concludes with invaluable bibliographies reflecting the most important current historiographical debates. Through a close study of these extremely well-selected documents, students will be able to come to a thorough knowledge and understanding of the compelling story of Britain since 1714, its rise to being the most powerful country in the world, and its subsequent decline.' — Peter Stansky, Stanford University

'Sources and Debates in Modern British History is an excellent way to introduce undergraduates to primary sources. The editorial material shows students how these historical figures were in conversation with each other, while the questions for discussion encourage students to analyze the documents individually and in groups. I highly recommend this book for undergraduates.' — Carol Engelhardt Herringer, Wright State University

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