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The origins of ‘liberalism’ in Britain: the case of The Liberal

Craig, David



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.


Craig, D. (2012). The origins of ‘liberalism’ in Britain: the case of The Liberal. Historical Research, 85(229), 469-487.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Aug 1, 2012
Deposit Date Mar 13, 2012
Journal Historical Research
Print ISSN 0950-3471
Electronic ISSN 1468-2281
Publisher Oxford University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 85
Issue 229
Pages 469-487

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