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Beyond the Taxes on Knowledge: the Law and the 1860s English Press

Beyond the Taxes on Knowledge: the Law and the 1860s English Press

King, Andrew ORCID: 0000-0003-2348-4231 (2023) Beyond the Taxes on Knowledge: the Law and the 1860s English Press. In: Esprit Periodicals and the Law Seminar 2, 19th December 2023, online - European Society for Periodical Research (ESPRit). (Unpublished)

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Summed up in Carlyle’s famous notion of the press as “the Fourth Estate”, discussions of the Law and the British press in the nineteenth century have often been framed in gendered terms of a heroic struggle for freedom from government. Opposition to the so-called “Taxes on Knowledge” from the 1830s to 50s has been a focal point. However, regulation of the press is conceptually much more complex involving diverse actants in a multitude of conflicts on small and large scales government and legislation (not always identical); owners and managers (again, maybe with different and conflicting aims); workers of many different kinds in manufacturing and distribution; and consumers. This paper looks at some relevant legal developments in the 1860s after the last of the “Taxes on Knowledge” had been repealed in 1861. They concern obscenity, libel, copyright, and – very often forgotten altogether - labour conditions of both printers and distributors, and ownership.

Item Type: Conference or Conference Paper (Lecture)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Law, press; periodicals; 1860s; libel; obscenity; labour; media ownership
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General)
K Law > K Law (General)
K Law > KD England and Wales
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences > School of Humanities & Social Sciences (HSS)
Last Modified: 20 Dec 2023 13:09

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