Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities
2011—2012 Forum on Adaptations
Ph.D., University of California, Irvine
Protest in the Age of Democratic Revolutions: London, Boston and Paris Compared, 1750-1795
Popular protest in mid-to-late eighteenth-century London, Boston, and Paris developed using surprisingly similar—and predominantly peaceful—techniques. As political contestations (the Wilkite movement in London, pre-Revolutionary contestations in Boston, and Revolutionary movements in Paris) developed, each group of radical protesters used emerging notions of popular sovereignty to gain voice in the period's controversies. In each campaign, with explicit references to the prior examples, protesters innovated political demonstrations, banquets, petition campaigns, mass-meetings, and occasionally popular insurrections to help influence the political process. All except the last typically remained physically nonviolent. This study aims to be the first to place all three movements in comparative perspective, thereby gaining insight into the adaptations of eighteenth-century popular radicalism across different contexts, and attempting to understand to what extent such movements were cosmopolitan and universalist in practice. Through examining newspapers, pamphlets, personal letters and journals, official reports, and other contemporary sources, I hope to reconstruct a broad picture of the strategies and methods of the three protest campaigns, and the extent to which they borrowed from international (or indeed transatlantic) examples.