We argue that Consol price movements during England's reform era reflected speculative activity spurred by continental revolutions and government instability, rather than market perceptions of a significant risk to the British regime's survival. We first show that, controlling for cross-market linkages, Consol variability during the reform era was no different than it was in normal times. Next, we show that Consol risks could be diversified using a portfolio of securities whose value depended on the unreformed regime's survival — something that should not have been possible if regime survival was in serious doubt. Finally, we use daily data to examine the relationship between major events and Consol prices. We find that investors did not view threats to the reform bill's passage as if they entailed risks of default. Instead, “ordinary” political risk (i.e., a potential change in the partisan control of the government) explains much of the variability in Consol prices.