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The rural warCaptain Swing and the politics of protest$
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Carl J. Griffin

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780719086267

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719086267.001.0001

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(p.319) Conclusion
The rural war

Carl J. Griffin

Manchester University Press

This chapter sums up the main ideas of the book and examines the end of the Swing protests. By the end of the 1830s, threshing machines were no longer in general use in any part of the south east, and attempts to reintroduce them frequently provoked incendiary attacks. The protests that followed Swing were fractured in space, time and protest practice. Swing also took on a phantasmagorical quality. The chapter concludes that the protests against the New Poor Law, and support in the countryside for the Grand National Consolidated Trade Union, Chartism and the Anti-Corn Law League were all made possible by the changes in rural society wrought by Swing. Swing was exceptional, the largest ever episode of machine-breaking, the last non-coordinated national protest of rural workers, indeed the biggest ever rural uprising.

Keywords:   Swing, rural society, rural protests, New Poor Law, threshing machines

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