The author would like to thank David Moon, James Thompson and the referees for thoughtful suggestions on an earlier version of this article.
The origins of ‘liberalism’ in Britain: the case of The Liberal*
Article first published online: 1 JUN 2012
Copyright © 2012 Institute of Historical Research
Volume 85, Issue 229, pages 469–487, August 2012
How to Cite
Craig, D. M. (2012), The origins of ‘liberalism’ in Britain: the case of The Liberal. Historical Research, 85: 469–487. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2281.2012.00601.x
- Issue published online: 5 JUL 2012
- Article first published online: 1 JUN 2012
This article examines the public reception of the periodical The Liberal to establish how the language of ‘liberalism’ began to develop in Britain in the eighteen-twenties. It shows that Hunt, Byron and Shelley had difficulty establishing a claim to this terminology partly because the conventional meanings of the word ‘liberality’– as in generosity and gentlemanliness – could be turned against their contributions, and partly because of their existing reputations as subversive, irreligious Epicureans. As a result, The Liberal helped to establish a negative typology of ‘liberalism’ that quickly gathered force among reactionaries.