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John Ashton Cannon (born Hertfordshire, 1926) is an English historian specialising in eighteenth-century British politics.

Cannon was educated at Peterhouse College, Cambridge and gained his PhD at Bristol University (where he was appointed Lecturer in 1961 and Senior Lecturer in 1967 as well as Reader in 1970). In 1976 he was appointed Chairman of Modern History at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Dean of the Faculty of Arts in 1979. He was also employed by the History of Parliament Trust.[1] His edition of Junius's Letters has been described by Junius' entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography as the most "authoritative collection".[2]

When Cannon wrote a review of E. P. Thompson's Whigs and Hunters that was critical of the book, Thompson replied that Cannon appeared to imply "that I am a shoddy historical craftsman throughout...capable of fabricating and falsifying evidence, changing the grounds of my argument to suit my whim, and subordinating the evidence to the "interests of progressive history"."[3]


  • The Fox-North Coalition. Crisis of the Constitution, 1782–4 (1969).
  • Parliamentary Reform, 1640-1832 (1973).
  • The Letters of Junius (editor, 1978).
  • The Historian at Work (editor, 1980).
  • The Whig Ascendancy. Colloquies on Hanoverian Britain (editor, 1981).
  • 'The Isthmus Repaired: The Resurgence of the English Aristocracy, 1660-1760', Proceedings of the British Academy 68 (1982), pp. 431-53.
  • Aristocratic Century. The Peerage of Eighteenth-Century England (1984).
  • The Blackwell Dictionary of Historians (editor amongst others, 1988).
  • The Oxford Illustrated History of the British Monarchy (with Ralph Griffiths, 1988; 2nd edn, 2000).
  • A Dictionary of British History (editor, 2004; 2nd edn, 2009).
  • The Kings and Queens of Britain (with Anne Hargreaves, 2004; 2nd edn, 2009).


  1. ^ John Cannon (ed.), The Whig Ascendancy. Colloquies on Hanoverian Britain (Edward Arnold, 1981), p. xi.
  2. ^ Francesco Cordasco, ‘Junius (fl. 1768–1773)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Sept 2004; online edn, Jan 2008, accessed 4 Dec 2009.
  3. ^ J. C. D. Clark, Revolution and Rebellion. State and Society in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries (Cambridge University Press, 1986), p. 48.


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