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Reactions To The Revolutionary Concepts Of Democracy And Popular Sovereignty In Westminster, 1789–1800

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Chapter Summary

The French Revolution - as a &t;paradigm shift&t; to more modern notions of nationhood and sovereignty and as the starting point of numerous ideological confrontations - also affected the history of the concept of democracy in many ways. The year 1795 saw perhaps the most intense discussion on democracy and the sovereignty of the people in the Westminster Parliament in the entire eighteenth century. Even if the late-1790s saw no triumph of language referring to democracy and the sovereignty of the people, some innovative speech acts like Fox's constituted examples of the conceptual change that had gathered momentum with the French Revolution. The last phase of the debates on democracy and popular sovereignty to be discussed within the confines of this study took place on 23 April 1799, when the Commons was debating the formulation of an Address concerning the union with Ireland.

Keywords: debates; democracy; French Revolution; sovereignty; Westminster



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