The Pursuit of Stability: Social Relations in Elizabethan London

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Cambridge University Press, Mar 7, 1991 - History - 323 pages
This work engages in the historical debate about the reasons for London's freedom from serious unrest in the later sixteenth century, when the city's rulers faced mounting problems caused by rapid population growth, spiralling prices, impoverishment and crime. One key to the city's stability was that Londoners were locked into a matrix of overlapping communities, the livery companies, wards and parishes, all of which created claims on their loyalties and gave them a framework within which redress of grievances could be pursued. The highly developed structures of government in the capital also enjoyed considerable success in mobilising resources for poor relief, while the authorities so impotent against it, as the traditional accounts would suggest. This is the first effort at a holistic approach to interpreting early modern London society, based on the full range of London sources.

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