The History of Parliament are delighted to announce the winners of our undergraduate and sixth form essay competitions for 2012. The undergraduate prize is awarded to the best undergraduate dissertation on a subject relating to British or Irish parliamentary or political history (this year, limited to the period before 1832.) The 6th form essay competition is awarded to the best essay on any aspect of parliamentary history. We greatly enjoyed reading all of the entries, and found some exceptionally good work.
The History’s Editorial Board, who are the judges for the competition, have selected a dissertation by Gary Hutchinson entitled ‘No Party Matter either in or out of doors’: reaction to the Impeachment of Henry Dundas, First Viscount Melville’, presented by the University of Edinburgh, as this year’s winner. The judges thought that the dissertation offered a sound and engagingly written narrative of how popular opinion mirrored parliamentary reaction in terms of anti-Scottish sentiment and the movement for parliamentary reform; it provided a wider perspective about the genesis of the critique of old corruption, was particularly adept in its analysis of the parliamentary debates and Cobbett and made some interesting comments on parliamentary language.
The sixth form prize has been won by a pupil from Fulford School in York, with an essay entitled ‘In the context of the period 1893-1998, to what extent were socialist ideals a major factor in the Irish nationalist movement?’. On a difficult subject, the essay was clearly focused, with an excellent grasp of the issues and events, and showed good judgement in considering others’ arguments.