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Starving times: Popular Responses to the English Economic Crises of the 1690s

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In the unsettled decade that followed the Revolution of 1688-89, the English people faced an unprecedented conjunction of hunger, war, currency failure, and trade slumps. This paper shows that the ‘poorer sort’ responded to these crises with a mixture of conservative reaction and creative adaptation. Sometimes this entailed deferential individual pleas for relief, but occasionally they expressed their displeasure through massive petitioning campaigns or protests by huge crowds which sometimes turned violent. By analysing the tactics and rhetoric employed by these men and women, the extraordinary circumstances of this period are revealed.

This talk is part of the Economic and Social History Seminars series.

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