British loyalty in 18C

Don’t have access to this article (it appears to be an early online release of a forthcoming issue through Wiley Online), but it might be relevant to our recent discussions of mercenaries and nationalism, plus it seems to directly address the issue of how contemporary language might have varied from more modern connotations…

McCormack, Matthew. “Rethinking ‘Loyalty’ in Eighteenth-Century Britain.” Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies (21 Nov. 2011).

This article explores the meanings and applications of the term ‘loyalty’ in Britain between 1688 and 1815. Political historians today employ the term in an instrumental way to connote obedience, nationalism, conservatism and monarchism: this finds its expression in the phenomenon of ‘loyalism’. This article instead argues that ‘loyalism’ was not a current term in the eighteenth century, and that ‘loyalty’ had specific meanings for different political groups. It could connote a religious, a legal or an emotional tie: as such, the changing concept of ‘loyalty’ is indicative of the shifting relationship between the individual and the state.



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