. . . other ruffians, as their fancies wrought,
With self same hand, self reasons, and self right,
Would shark on you, and men like ravenous fishes
Would feed on one another.

William Shakespeare, in one of his generally agreed-upon contributions to Sir Thomas More, was in no doubt about the evils of populism when referring to the May Day riot in London in 1517. He depicted mobs in action in a number of plays, most memorably Julius Caesar and Coriolanus, and also in his lengthy presentation of the 1450 Jack Cade rebellion in Henry VI, Part 2.


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