While historians of ancient, medieval and early modern societies have shown a great interest in petitioning, scholars researching nineteenth-century Britain have largely overlooked the role of parliamentary petitioning and a vital set of sources for recovering its history. Our research emerges from Richard Huzzey's (https://www.dur.ac.uk/history/staff/profiles/?id=15157) work on anti-slavery activism and Henry Miller's (https://www.dur.ac.uk/history/staff/profiles/?id=15189) focus on the Anti-Corn Law League. However, the project moves beyond traditional histories of particular campaigns or issues, where petitioning activity is reported as a background detail.
By showing the extent and range of petitioning in nineteenth-century Britain, our project will be an important intervention in histories of democratization. However, we will also offer baseline contextual information for researchers in the humanities and social sciences to tap into these records, adding an important new source to future studies.