John Wilkes (17 October 1725 – 26 December 1797) was an English radical, journalist and politician. In the Middlesex election dispute, he fought for the right of voters—rather than the House of Commons—to determine their representatives. In 1771 he was instrumental in obliging the government to concede the right of printers to publish verbatim accounts of parliamentary debates. In 1776 he introduced the first Bill for parliamentary reform in the British Parliament. Wilkes’ increasing conservatism as he grew older caused dissatisfaction among radicals and was instrumental in the loss of his Middlesex seat at the 1790 general election. Wilkes then retired from politics and took no part in the growth of radicalism in the 1790s.
Keywordsjohn wilkes, middlesex election dispute, right of voters, british parliament, conservatism, ugly ugliest man in england, verbal wit
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Benson John Lossing, ed. Harper's Encyclopedia of United States History (vol. 10) (New York, NY: Harper and Brothers, 1912)
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