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The Changing British State during the Counterrevolution: The Role of the John Reeves’ Association Movement

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Super III, Robert Thomas. “The Changing British State during the Counterrevolution: The Role of the John Reeves’ Association Movement.” (Under the direction of Dr. Brent S. Sirota.)

The Association for Preserving Liberty and Property Against Republicans and Levellers was founded by John Reeves in November of 1792 to police British society from the threat of Jacobinism. In this capacity it was at first wildly successful. The Association’s downfall came when it resorted to mob violence in persecuting suspected British Jacobins. Through an examination of the Reeves Associations we see a powerful example of how the British state was changing at the conclusion of the so-called long eighteenth century, as Prime Minister William Pitt led Great Britain into its new role as the leading counterrevolutionary nation in Europe. The experience of John Reeves serves to illustrate the changes which occurred in British political society in the 1790s, as the state expanded its authority, new methods of policing were explored, and Britain first experienced the challenges of mass politics.

 

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