Radicalism, Monarchy And The Lost Liberties Of Anglo-Saxon Egland 1790-1820 – Steve Poole

Although the English Jacobins of the 1790s were frequently characterised by their enemies as Republican followers of Tom Paine, in reality many of them could only commit to following Paine so far. The Rights of Man were all very well as long as they could be advocated without dumping long standing and cherished beliefs in an anglo-saxon golden age of elected chieftans and voluntary association – historical fantasies that Paine was quite uninterested in. Radical interpretations of English history, from the winning of Magna Carta to the Peasants Revolt, the execution of Charles I and the Glorious Revolution led many English Jacobins to a belief that a constitutionally accountable monarchy would serve them far better than innovative and abstract notions of a republic. But constitutionalism did not preclude armed uprisings and insurrections; on the contrary, it furnished them with a patriotic sense of duty that was both a radical strength and, ultimately, radicalism’s greatest weakness.

Steve is a lecturer in History at the University of West of England. He teaches the history of popular movements in Britain from the mid 18th to the mid 19th centuries and ‘feels an irrational attachment to the Romantic enthusiasm of the English Jacobins’. His book The Politics of Regicide in England,1760-1850 has just been published.

Listen to this talk:

Steve Poole

Q & A

Thomas Paine And The English Republicans _Robert Lamb

Unfortunately Robert was unable to make this lecture due to flooding between Exeter and Tiverton.

Robert Lamb will explore how Thomas Paine’s ideas freed English 19th Century radicals and republicans from the legacy of the 1688 Glorious Revolution, which had set limits to such movements in the eighteenth century.

Robert is a lecturer in Political Philosophy at the University of Exeter with specific research interests in 18th and 19th century political writing, particularly that of British liberals, socialists and utilitarians. He is currently working on a monograph with the working title ‘The Egalitarian Politics of Thomas Paine’, which explores the nature of Paine’s understanding of moral equality and the role that concept plays in his substantive political arguments about individual rights.

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