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Soldiers as CitizensPopular Politics and the Nineteenth-Century British Military$
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Nick Mansfield

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781789620863

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781789620863.001.0001

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Loyalism, Nationalism and the Army, 1790–1860

Loyalism, Nationalism and the Army, 1790–1860

(p.151) 7 Loyalism, Nationalism and the Army, 1790–1860
Soldiers as Citizens

Nick Mansfield

Liverpool University Press

In contrast to chapters 3, 4 and 5, this chapter examines the traditional anti-foreigner and particularly anti-French feeling shared by many working class people. It examines how this aided the British army in the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars and assesses how it contributed to the strengthening of political loyalism rather than radicalism. The account looks at examples of extraordinary rank and file unsolicited wartime bravery, and general keeness for battle which were promoted by post war commemoration and growing loyalty amongst soldiers to the martial traditions of their regiments. With rank and file support for regiment, army and nation, and with the army’s growing imperial role after 1815, this loyalism was combined with incipient imperialism. In addition, the survival of officer paternalism, albeit patchy, contributed to rank and file loyalty, often absorbing the anti-radicalism of the officer class. All this contributed to soldiers almost universally ‘doing their duty’ and explains why radical subversion was unsuccessful and why regiments could be safely used by the Victorian authorities against Chartists and strikers.

Keywords:   Loyalism, Commemoration, Anti-radicalism, Bravery, Xenophobia, Imperialism

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