Voice of the people: "The Loyal Reformers' Gazette" and the passing of Scottish Reform 1832

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Authors

Dorsey, Mark

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University of Guelph

Abstract

The 'Loyal Reformers' Gazette', based out of Glasgow, was a small grassroots publication that found its place in being instrumental in the passing of the Scottish Reform of 1832. The 'Gazette' was one of the leading unstamped periodicals that provided low-wage workers with critical information concerning the Scottish Reform Act 1832, making the paper hugely influential in the creation of class consciousness at the time. The 'Gazette' was considered dangerous enough by the state to prosecute - due to its focus on political corruption and changing the parliamentary system - and throughout its publication, the paper faced dogged persistence for not withdrawing from the protest. The larger implications of case study on 'The Loyal Reformers' Gazette' are the findings it offers on the nature of radicalism in Scotland at the time, an ongoing historiographical debate among those interested in the level of "flammability" of the nation. With the help of some influential allies - such as Francis Jeffrey and Earl Grey - the paper helped to lead Scottish radicalism with a strong sense of unionist-nationalism and adherence to the principles of participation in civil society. Despite legal proceedings trying to shut the 'Gazette' down, the paper persevered in debating the idea that monetary worth is directly correlated to intellect and understanding, and preaching that political reform offered an answer to poverty and other social problems. As a result of their role in establishing reform and acting as the "voice" of the Scottish people - something that other newspapers were not doing - the 'Gazette' acted as a public forum for Scottish political and social issues and a conduit to class formation and solidarity.

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Keywords

Loyal Reformers Gazette, Glasgow, publication, Scottish Reform, radicalism, Scotland, political reform, forum, class formation

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