The popular mobilization of the post-war years was followed by a period of critical self-analysis and internal dissension — a sequence subsequently familiar to the Chartists — as conflicting conclusions were drawn from the failure and decline of mass agitation. Other factors contributed to the revisionist mood of the 1820s, a time when a new pattern of economic fluctuation and distress was beginning to assert itself. Confronted by the industrial trade cycle, popular radicals rethought their ideology in conflict with the advanced guard of middle-class ‘philosophic radicals’, Utilitarian and didactic popularizers of Ricardian political economy. Popular radicals, however, failed to regain the initiative as ‘public opinion’, a middle-class construction, became increasingly ‘liberal’ and influential.
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