Politics and Politicians
Crawford v. Crawford and Dilke was among the first Victorian divorce cases to involve a well-known English politician. It achieved scandalous status in its own time for both its lurid sexual details and its high-profile cast of characters. Focusing less on the chief male actors than its female participants, including Maye Dilke and Virginia Crawford, I consider the response by contemporary feminists to Sir Charles Dilke’s fall from power, as a consequence of his perceived transgressions, and some implications of the scandal for feminist politics in the 1880s and 1890s.
This article argues that opinion politics is one of the most significant developments in the nineteenth century, and does so by focusing in part on the Ballot Act of 1872. It provides a quick overview of the scene of elections prior to the reforms of 1832 and 1867 in order to highlight the emergence of the opinionated, purposive individual as the agent and medium of politics. it describes the mid-century variant of this political individual, the focus at this moment on the cognitive procedures of opinion formation, and the stresses this commitment produced in the political domain. It also briefly describes the late-century changes in opinion politics, and notes its continued salience in present-day politics.