Anne Fertig

Whigs and Tories

Teaching Notes

Materials

"Whigs and Tories" was first presented at the Jane Austen Summer Program of 2021, entitled "Jane Austen's World." Anne Fertig provides an overview of England's political system during the Regency. 

Discussion Questions 

  1. Consider your favorite Austen novel. What political stance, if any, do you think Austen takes allegorically through her work? You might consider the references to the slave trade in Mansfield Park, her opinions towards the navy in Persuasion, or her thoughts on female inheritance and property rights in Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice.

  2. Some scholars have read the small towns and communities of Austen's novels as a microcosm of the larger British Empire. Others, such as Marilyn Butler, believe that Austen's political focus was specifically invested in small local communities rather than national affairs. What do you think of the scale of Austen's novels and how do the relate to the political or social situation of her day?