Soldiers as Citizens

BookSoldiers as Citizens

Soldiers as Citizens

Popular Politics and the Nineteenth-Century British Military

Studies in Labour History, 12

2019

September 20th, 2019

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Rank and file soldiers were not ‘the scum of the earth’ but included a cross section of working-class men, who retained their former civilian culture. While they often exhibited pride in regiment and nation, soldiers could also demonstrate a growing class consciousness and support for political radicalism. The book will challenge assumptions that the British army was politically neutral, if privately conservative, by uncovering a rich vein of liberal and radical political thinking among some soldiers, officers and political commentators. This ranges from the Whig ‘militia’ tradition, through radical theories on tactics and army reform, to attempted ultra-radical subversion amongst troops, and the involvement of soldiers in riots and risings. Case studies are given of individual 'military radicals', soldiers or ex-soldiers who were reforming and later socialist activists. Popular anti-French feeling of the Napoleonic Wars is examined, alongside examples of rank and file bravery which fostered widespread loyalty and patriotism. This contributed to soldiers being used successfully in strike breaking, and deployed against rioters or Chartist revolts. By the late Victorian period, popular imperialism was an important part of working-class support for Conservatism. The book explores what impact this had on rank and file soldiers, whilst outlining minority support for socialism.

Reviews

'A very interesting and insightful book that makes a significant contribution to the fields of both labour and military history.'
Professor Keith Gildart, University of Wolverhampton

Author Information

Nick Mansfield is Senior Research Fellow in History at the University of Central Lancashire, Preston.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Cover1
Contents7
Abbreviations11
Illustrations13
1. Introduction15
Subject matter15
Argument17
The French Wars, the Industrial Revolution and the labour movement20
Literacy and rank-and-file memoirs21
Barracks22
Empire24
2. Politics and the Military, 1790–183226
Introduction26
Whigs29
Whig Generals30
Radical Whig Officers34
Tories38
3. Radicalism and the Military, 1790–186642
Introduction42
Radical views of the military42
Radicals as soldiers’ friends43
Purchase and flogging45
Radical military theory48
John Cartwright (1740–1824)50
William Cobbett (1763–1835)52
Pike warfare54
Richard Carlile and The Political Soldier58
Soldier radicalism in the Empire60
Soldiers siding with the people against the authorities62
Soldiers’ knowledge of radical ideas and events64
Methodism66
Conclusion: A ‘soldiers’ republic’?68
4. Protest and Subversion, 1790–185071
Introduction71
Riots and protests in the 1790s73
Ireland and Scotland75
Subversive handbills76
The Despard conspiracy82
Luddites and trade unions83
Post-war discontent, 1815–1685
Spies and drilling87
Pentrich rising, 181789
Peterloo, 181990
Scotland, 182092
Grange Moor, 182093
The Cato Street Conspiracy, 182094
Queen Caroline agitation, 1820–2195
East Lancashire Loom Riots, 182698
The Reform crisis, 1831–3299
Chartism100
Pensioners and Chartists102
1848104
Conclusion105
5. Military Radicals, 1790–1850107
Eighteenth-century military radicals107
The impact of the French Revolution109
The Napoleonic wars114
The Napier brothers115
Officer military radicals, 1815–50120
Rank-and-file military radicals, 1815–50123
Owenites128
Chartism131
Conclusion134
6. Overseas Military Adventurers, 1770–1861136
Introduction136
America137
Ireland137
Latin America139
Greece145
Spain, 1820–23146
Portugal, 1832–33148
British Auxiliary Legion (BAL)150
Italy158
Irish Fenians162
Conclusion163
7. Loyalism, Nationalism and the Army, 1790–1860165
Introduction165
Subscriptions and commemoration166
‘One Englishman …’168
Keenness for battle169
Valiant Stormers and saving the colours173
Incipient imperialism176
Anti-radicalism amongst soldiers178
Conclusion: Paternalism?183
8. Popular Imperialism, Democracy, Conservatism and Socialism, 1850–1900186
Introduction186
High politics187
Cardwell188
Popular imperialism190
Racism193
Ex-Servicemen’s organisations and commemoration194
Conservative officers196
Continuing officer support for Liberalism198
Post-Chartist military radicals200
In support of the civil power202
Democracy and voting203
Soldier socialists208
Conclusion215
9. Conclusion217
Postscript: The Great War220
Bibliography224
Index247