The historical geography of political life has been neglected. This paper explores not past electoral geographies but the role of travelling politicians and agitators as catalysts within localities, as builders of national movements and, indirectly, as creators of a national polity. A series of case studies are presented of Chartist leaders in 1839 and of activism among agricultural labourers in the early 1870s. These extra-parliamentary campaigns are compared with more formal political activity, notably Gladstone's Midlothian campaigns of 1879-80. The conclusion argues for a rehabilitation of the 'outside agitator' and for the autonomous role of political action.
|Number of pages
|Transactions of The Institute of British Geographers
|Published - 1996