Patriotism is often described as love and respect for your country. Because patriotism is such an abstract term it can be shown in many varying forms. This is very evident in Linda Colley’s Britons: Forging the Nation, 1707-1837. She provides a multitude of ways that the Britons showed their love and respect for their country. As I took the examples in the book it appeared that people of the time saw patriotism as more of a mix between viewing patriotism as unquestioning loyalty to country and the idea of challenging the existing nature rather than people just merely showing love and respect. Therefore in terms of this book patriotism was about loving where you were from but challenging to have your fair say in looking over that same place.
In the introduction to Britons, Colley makes a point that being a patriot was a way to claim the right to have a part in the political life and a way to demand more access to citizenship. Multiple portions of the book came back to rehash on this point. The course of this book follows history from how Protestantism rose up to be the official religion all the way up to women wanting to be involved in political matters.
In the first chapter we see how those of the Catholic and Protestant religions have to face the struggles associated with being part of an ever religiously changing nation. In the early days of the nation known as Briton the national religion would change each time the ruler would. That of course would have caused great instability in what was slowly becoming the national identity.
Take the ruling line of the Tudors for instance. Henry VIII started out as a Catholic king but when he couldn’t get his way part of the way through his rule he started the Anglican Church. After his death his son kept the same religion but after he died his sister Mary took the thrown. She was a very devote Catholic and was not very tolerant of Anglicans. Her habit of searching out and executing non Catholics definitely would have thrown people for a loop when it came to how they should identify themselves in public. They knew that if they followed what they were raised to believe in they would be killed but they would be going against everything they believed in.
As time passed however Briton became a more largely Protestant country. Sections of the area were still Catholic, namely Ireland, and some areas of Scotland became Presbyterian. That meant that overall people were starting to identify together as a larger group within the nation. Furthermore as mentioned in the book the Britons are created with creating the term anthem, and that confirms that their national identity was closely tied to their religion.
Also, the widely accepted religion at times was responsible for who was on the throne. When the Stuarts were put back on the throne the nation was okay with it because Charles was a Protestant ruler which fit with their Protestant national identity. When Charles’s rule was over and he had not...