War, nationalism and the Georgian political print
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
"War, nationalism and the Georgian political print" is a study of some three thousand prints and cartoons and their illustration of the development of English nationalism under the impact of war. Under different subject headings the prints have been tackled chronologically, as change over time was generally greater than yearly stylistic or thematic variations. The depiction of change is the most important aspect of the prints. While individual prints, or even groups of prints, nay be unreliable sources of information, isolated as they are in time and meaning, the dramatic change occurring in some print subjects has an important contribution to make towards a study of English nationalism from 1793-1814. The Thesis is divided into six parts. In the introduction the use of the prints as a source is evaluated and the impact of visual culture examined. The relationship between the prints and society is studied and the concept of nationalism defined. Chapter two looks at the print's portrayal of xenophobia, one of the taproots of English nationalism. The concepts of divisions within English national feeling and change under the impact of war are introduced. In chapter three this nationalism is examined in the light of "King and Country" sentiment and the search for a national symbol. The development of symbols for nationalism is further traced in chapters four and five which look at the visual impact of Britannia, the constitution and John Bull. In the final chapter the relationship between militarism and nationalism is evaluated. In concluding English nationalism is considered in the light of war experience. Visually there is a dramatic difference between the period from 1793-1802, 1803 and 1804-14. While this pictorial record might overemphasise the impact of the struggle for national survival in 1803 there can be no doubt that a change in English attitudes towards nationalism did occur during the war. This change can be generalised as a development in emphasis from liberal, inward looking nationalism to an external nationalism whose vehicle of expansion was commercial might. However it must be stressed that this development was neither cpmp1ete nor final at the end of 1814.