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The Politics of HungerProtest, Poverty and Policy in England, c. 1750-c. 1840$
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Carl J. Griffin

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781526145628

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.7765/9781526145635

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PRINTED FROM MANCHESTER SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.manchester.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Manchester University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MSO for personal use.date: 18 September 2021

The persistence of the discourse of starvation in the protests of the poor

The persistence of the discourse of starvation in the protests of the poor

(p.55) 2 The persistence of the discourse of starvation in the protests of the poor
The Politics of Hunger

Carl J. Griffin

Manchester University Press

The bitter repression of the national wave of riots during the subsistence crises of 1795-6 and 1800-1 led to the end of the food rioting tradition. Only in the ‘Hungry Forties’ was hunger ‘rediscovered’, the ‘struggle over the representation of scarcity’, as Peter Gurney has put it, being particularly acute in both the politicking of Chartism and the Anti-Corn Law League. So the received understanding goes. This chapter questions this position and analyses the ways in which the discourses detailed in chapter one persisted beyond 1801 and into the 1840s. In so doing it analyses the claims made in threatening letters, legal defences, claims made to (and quarrels with) poor law officials, as well as in popular political forms including speeches, broadsides and ballads, and political journalism.

Keywords:   Discourse of starvation, Hunger, Food riots, Hungry Forties, William Cobbett, Animal maiming, Chartism, Anti-Corn Law League, Threatening letters

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