Electoral violence in mid nineteenth-century England and Wales
Faculty of Education and Arts
School of Communications and Contemporary Arts
Many assumptions about the frequency and scale of electoral violence in mid Victorian England and Wales have previously been made but there has been no attempt at a comprehensive quantitative analysis. This article, which draws upon home office papers, election petition reports and contemporary newspapers, identifies and differentiates between riots, disturbances and incidents at general elections from 1857 to 1880. It concludes that electoral violence was more widespread and serious than generally believed, that it usually occurred in cities rather than small towns, and that it was directly related to the number of contested constituencies.