Book Entry, Source #1063
Dozier, Robert R. For King, Constitution, & Country: the English Loyalists and the French Revolution. Louisville: UP of Kentucky , 1983.
Grinnell library catalog page
In For King, Constitution & Country, Robert R. Dozier sets out to explain 1790s Britain from the point of view of the loyalists, who formed themselves into many organizations in response to perceived threats from radicals at home and the French Revolution abroad. To Dozier, the loyalist movement was born with the overwhelmingly positive response to George III’s proclamation of May 21, 1792, which warned his subjects to disregard seditious writings. Judging from addresses sent to the king and the number and sizes of John Reeves’s Crown and Anchor Associations, he determines that the vast majority of British citizens of the time were loyalists determined to defend their constitution and king.
Dozier discusses the threat to British stability as perceived by the government with the help of spies and informants. To Pitt’s government, radical artisans’ associations ideologically aligned with France posed a potentially great threat, especially after Britain entered outright war with France. In response, loyalists raised subscriptions for the soldiers’ and sailors’ families, and with wartime their shift changed from defense of the constitution to love of country.
Dozier paints the loyalist movement in a far more positive light than many other commentators. He sees them as acting reasonably in response to perceived threat, and he argues that their success was largely due to their skill in claiming that their position was the patriotic one. While radicals’ goals of extending rights may have been commendable, the extent of the loyalist movement indicates that the majority of Englishmen were content with their ability to participate in the political process through the “informal constitution” including the political actions of popular associations, and, indeed, that these actions constituted significant input into the political process.
Entered by Sara on 04 August 2004 at 11:19 AM.