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Reputation and Representation

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Chapter Summary

In past centuries, pedlar or street vendor was an occupation of poor repute, its participants considered dishonest and systematically barred from the guilds and from official employment. The pedlar's image was multifaceted and produced in significant measure by parties that were not directly concerned with his occupation. 'Pedlar', a rather imprecise and all-purpose term, describes a heterogeneous category of individuals who traded in merchandise of limited size. The English Civil War marks the start of a crucial phase in the regulation and suppression of pedlars and hawkers as political printing became an important participant in the battle between Monarchists and Parliamentarians. A mix of economic and political arguments against pedlars can be found after 1750, when the Amsterdam booksellers' guild again pressed for greater regulation of street sellers and pedlars.

Keywords: Amsterdam booksellers; English civil war; hawkers; parliamentarians; pedlar



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