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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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Popular Imperialism, Democracy, Conservatism and Socialism, 1850–1900

Popular Imperialism, Democracy, Conservatism and Socialism, 1850–1900

(p.172) 8 Popular Imperialism, Democracy, Conservatism and Socialism, 1850–1900
Soldiers as Citizens

Nick Mansfield

Liverpool University Press

This chapter reviews the political sympathies of soldiers – both officers and rank and file - in the age of high Victorian imperialism and emerging British democracy. It examines the role of the army in growing working class support for popular imperialism, often fuelled by racism. Whilst it acknowledges the overall tendency for officers to support Conservatism, it uncovers tenacious support for Liberalism on the part of some of the officer corps. This extended to many of the rank and file in the post-Chartist period, with post discharge soldiers actively supporting all types of reform movements and taking an active part in the mass democracy brought about by the 1867 and 1884 Reform Acts. With the development of socialism from the 1880s this even extended to a significant number of ‘soldier socialists’, surveyed here for the first time.

Keywords:   Popular imperialism, Democracy, Liberalism, Conservatism, Socialism

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