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Radical Opinion in an Age of Reform: Thomas Perronet Thompson and the Westminster Review

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Historians have long been interested in the growth of the nineteenth-century political press, and many commentators recognize the instrumentality of newspapers, pamphlets, prints and publications of all kinds in the development of radical opinion and popular participation in politics. This article is offered as a contribution to continuing debates about the links between radicalism and the press. Its purpose is to examine the establishment and early history of the Westminster Review, the leading radical periodical of the early nineteenth century. Special attention will be paid to the role of Thomas Perronet Thompson (1783-1869), who was associated with the review for several years as owner, editor and contributor. This article will demonstrate the importance of Thompson's involvement with the Westminster Review with reference to its politics, reputation, influence, management and status. Personal relationships which had a bearing on the review's early history - particularly those between Thompson, Jeremy Bentham, John Bowring and the Mills - will be examined, and there will also be discussion of editorial processes, journalistic standards, business rivalry, the nature of the Westminster Review's content, and its conflict with the Whig Edinburgh Review.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Sunderland

Publication date: January 1, 2001

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