Eighteenth-century women played a significant part in British political life. Up and down the social scale they performed a variety of political acts, everything from purchasing political artifacts such as plates, handkerchiefs, and fans to penning political pamphlets, starving in civic processions, sponsoring boycotts, arguing over public issues in their own debating societies, rioting, and uttering seditious words. Whereas historians used to see female political involvement in this century as isolated or aberrant, they now stress the continuity and normalcy of such activity, especially for aristocratic women. Given the familial nature of aristocratic politics, noble woman were actually expected to act as political advisors and agents for their husbands, to canvass in elections, to serve as political hostesses, to seek and dispense political patronage. They did so routinely long before the eighteenth and deep into the nineteenth century.