‘Ye English warriors’: radical nationalism and the true patriot
in Ballads and songs of Peterloo
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Radicalism and nationalism would appear to be unlikely bedfellows, given that they tend to be placed on opposite ends of the political spectrum; yet this section demonstrates how many of the radical poems and songs written after Peterloo are underpinned by a radical English nationalism with poets making clear distinction between the un-English characteristics of a tyrannical state and monarchy and the true English patriot fighting for lost freedoms. Although the ideology of nationalism emerged in the revolutionary fervour of the late eighteenth century, this section establishes the nature of English radical nationalism and how the championing of English national identity has resonances with the republicanism of the English Revolution and late seventeenth century, the heroes and martyrs of which, particularly John Hampden, Algernon Sidney and William Russell, were a regular presence in the radical press. Key to English national identity is the myth of the Norman yoke and the yearning for the restoration of lost rights, references to which permeate the eleven poems in this section.


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