English nationalism | Wikipedia audio article

English nationalism | Wikipedia audio article


English nationalism is the nationalism that
asserts that the English are a nation and promotes the cultural unity of English people. In a general sense, it comprises political
and social movements and sentiment inspired by a love for English culture, language and
history, and a sense of pride in England and the English people. English nationalists often see themselves
as predominantly English rather than British. On the political level, some English nationalists
have advocated self-government for England such as the English Democrats. This could take the form either of a devolved
English Parliament within the United Kingdom or the re-establishment of an independent
sovereign state of England outside of the United Kingdom.==History==
The history of English nationalism is a contested area of scholarship. The historian Adrian Hastings has written
that: “One can find historians to date ‘the dawn of English national consciousness’ (or
some such phrase) in almost every century from the eighth to the nineteenth”.===Anglo-Saxon===Patrick Wormald has claimed that England was
a nation by the time of the Venerable Bede, who wrote the Historia ecclesiastica gentis
Anglorum (Ecclesiastical History of the English People) around 730. Wormald attributes Bede with a decisive “role
in defining English national identity and English national destiny”. Bede uses the label “English” to describe
the Germanic peoples who inhabited Britain: Angles, Saxons and Jutes and excludes Britons,
Scots and Picts. In the final paragraph to the preface of the
Ecclesiastical History of the English People Bede departs from the usual word “gens” and
instead uses the word “natio” to describe the “historia nostrae nationis”: the history
of our own nation. This is the first verbal appearance of the
English nation.The Anglo-Saxon poem The Battle of Maldon described the said battle between
the Anglo-Saxon forces of Ethelred the Unready against a Viking invasion in 991. The poem praises the Anglo-Saxons defence
of “their land, the land of Ethelred the King, the place and the people” and Byrhtnoth, Earl
of Essex, is attributed as saying: “Shall our people, our nation, bear you to go hence
with our gold?”Both Hastings and James Campbell believe England was a nation-state during
late Anglo-Saxon times. Campbell writes that by the Norman conquest
of 1066, “England was by then a nation-state”.===Medieval===The Norman conquest introduced a ruling class
over England who displaced English land owners and clergy, and who spoke only Anglo-Norman,
though it is likely many if not most were conversant in English from the second generation
onwards. William of Malmesbury, a chronicler of mixed
Anglo-Norman descent writing in the twelfth century, described the Battle of Hastings
as: “That fatal day for England, the sad destruction of our dear country [dulcis patrie]”. He also lamented: “England has become the
habitation of outsiders and the dominion of foreigners. Today, no Englishman is earl, bishop, or abbot,
and newcomers gnaw away at the riches and very innards of England; nor is there any
hope for an end of this misery”. Another chronicler, Robert of Gloucester,
speaking in part of earlier centuries, in the mid to late thirteenth century: …the Norman could not speak anything then
except their own speech, and they spoke French as they had done at home, and had their children
taught it, too, so that important men in this country who come from their stock all keep
to that same speech that they derived from them; because, unless a man knows French,
he is thought little of. But humble men keep to English and their own
speech still. I reckon there are no countries in the whole
world that do not keep to their own speech, except England only. King Edward I, when issuing writs for summoning
Parliament in 1295, claimed that the King of France planned to invade England and extinguish
Old English, “a truly detestable plan which may God avert”.In the Cursor Mundi, an anonymous
religious poem in northern Middle English dating from approximately 1300, appears the
words: “Of Ingland the nacion”. The Prologue starts: Efter haly kyrces state
Þis ilke bok it es translate, Into Inglis tong to rede,
For þe love of Inglis lede, Inglis lede of Ingeland,
For þe commun at understand. Frankis rimes here I redd
Comunlik in ilk a sted; Mast es it wroght for Frankis man —
Quat is for him na Frankis can? Of Ingeland þe nacioun,
Es Inglis man þar in commun. Þe speche þat man with mast may spede,
Mast þarwith to speke war nede. Selden was for ani chance
Praised Inglis tong in France; Give we ilk an þar langage,
Me think we do þam non outrage. To lauid Inglis man I spell… This can be translated into modern English
as: This same book is translated, in accordance
with the dignity of Holy Church, into the English tongue to be read, for love of the
English people, the English people of England, for the common people to understand. I have normally read French verses everywhere
here; it is mostly done for the Frenchman — what is there for him who knows no French? As for the nation of England, it is an Englishman
who is usually there. It ought to be necessary to speak mostly the
speech that one can best get on with. Seldom has the English tongue by any chance
been praised in France; if we give everyone their own language, it seems to me we are
doing them no injury. I am speaking to the English layman… In 1323 Henry Lambard, a cleric, was brought
before a court and asked how he wished to clear himself of charges of theft. Lambard said in English that he was a cleric
and was then asked if he knew Latin or French. He replied that he was English, and English-born,
and that to speak in his mother tongue was proper. He refused to speak any other language except
English. Refusing to give any other answer to the court,
he was committed to another court to suffer peine forte et dure.During the later decades
of the fourteenth century English started to come back into official use. The Pleading in English Act 1362 sought to
replace French with English for all pleas in courts. The Mercers’ Petition to Parliament of 1386
is the oldest piece of parliamentary English; the earliest English wills at the London Court
of Probate date from 1387; the earliest English returns of the ordinances, usages, holdings
of the gilds are from 1389 and come from London, Norwich and King’s Lynn. John Trevisa, writing in 1385, noted that:
“…in all the grammar schools of England children are dropping French and construing
and learning in English…Also gentlemen have now largely stopped teaching their children
French”.The Hundred Years’ War with France (1337–1453) aroused English nationalist
feeling. May McKisack has claimed that “The most lasting
and significant consequences of the war should be sought, perhaps, in the sphere of national
psychology…For the victories were the victories, not only of the king and of the aristocracy,
but of the nation”. When the Ordinance of Normandy (in which the
French King called for the elimination of the English nation and language in a second
Norman conquest of England) was discovered in 1346 it was used for propaganda purposes
by England. After the Siege of Calais of 1346, King Edward
III expelled the inhabitants of that city because, in his words, “I wolde repeople agayne
the towne with pure Englysshmen”. When King Henry V conquered Harfleur in 1415,
he ordered the inhabitants to leave and imported English immigrants to replace them. Edward III promoted Saint George during his
wars against Scotland and France. Under Edward I and Edward II, pennons bearing
the Cross of Saint George were carried, along with those of Saint Edmund the Martyr and
Saint Edward the Confessor. However Edward III promoted St George over
the previous national saints of St Edmund, St Edward the Confessor and Saint Gregory
the Great. On 13 August 1351 St George was celebrated
as “the blessed George, the most invincible athlete of Christ, whose name and protection
the English race invoke as that of their patron, in war especially”. In Chichester in 1368 a guild was founded
“to the honour of the holy Trinity and of its glorious martyr George, protector and
patron of England”. The Cross of St George was used by Edward
III as banners on his ships and carried by his armies. St George became the patron saint of England
and his cross eventually became the flag of England.Laurence Minot, writing in the early
fourteenth century, wrote patriotic poems celebrating Edward III’s military victories
against the Scots, French, Bohemians, Spaniards, Flemings and the Genoese.After the English
victory at Cressy in 1346, a cleric wrote a Latin poem criticising the French and extolling
the English: Francia, foeminea, pharisaea, vigoris idea
Lynxea, viperea, vulpina, lupina, Medea… Anglia regna, mundi rosa, flos sine spina
Mel sine sentina, vicisti bella marina. In English, this is: France, womanish, pharisaic, embodiment of
might Lynx-like, viperish, foxy, wolfish, a Medea… Realm of England, rose of the world, flower
without thorn, Honey without dregs; you have won the war
at sea. Shortly after Henry V’s victory over the French
at Agincourt in 1415, a song was written to celebrate the victory. It started: Deo gratias Anglia redde pro victoria!Owre
Kynge went forth to Normandy With grace and myght of chyvalry
Ther God for hym wrought mervelusly; Wherefore Englonde may call and cryDeo gratias:
Deo gratias Anglia redde pro victoria. John Wycliffe (1320s–1384), the founder
of the reformist Lollard movement, argued against the power of the Pope over England:
“Already a third and more of England is in the hands of the Pope. There cannot be two temporal sovereigns in
one country; either Edward is king or Urban is king. We make our choice. We accept Edward of England and refuse Urban
of Rome”. Wycliffe justified his translating the Bible
into English: “The gospels of Crist written in Englische, to moost lernyng of our nacioun”.The
historian Robert Colls has argued that “by the middle of the fourteenth-century nearly
all the requirements for an English national identity were in place”, including a “distinctive
sense of territory and ethnicity, an English church, a set of national fables, and a clear
common language”. Scholar of nationalism Anthony D. Smith agrees
to an extent, as from his ethnosymbolist perspective the ethnic core necessary for the development
of modern nations had begun to crystallise during the fourteenth-century. That would not be to claim however that ‘an
English nation had come into existence, only that some of the processes that help to form
nations had become discernible’.===Tudor===The historian of the Tudor period, Geoffrey
Elton, has asserted that the “Tudor revolution in government” under King Henry VIII and his
chief minister Thomas Cromwell has as its chief ingredient a concept of “national sovereignty”. The Act in Restraint of Appeals 1533 famous
preamble summarised this theory: Where by divers sundry old authentic histories
and chronicles it is manifestly declared and expressed that this realm of England is an
empire…governed by one supreme head and king having the dignity and royal estate of
the imperial crown of the same, unto whom a body politic, compact of all sorts and degrees
of people divided in terms and by names of spiritualty and temporalty, be bounden and
owe to bear next to God a natural and humble obedience. By declaring England to be an “empire” this
meant that England was a state entirely independent of “the authority of any foreign potentates”. Elton claimed that “We call this sort of thing
a sovereign national state”. The Act outlawed appeals from courts within
the realm to courts outside the realm. The English Reformation destroyed the jurisdiction
of the Pope over England. England was now completely independent. For this reason Sir Thomas More went to his
death, because in his words: “This realm, being but one member and small part of the
Church, might not make a particular law dischargeable with the general law of Christ’s holy Catholic
Church, no more than the City of London being but one poor member in respect of the whole
realm, might make a law against an act of Parliament”. He later said: “I am not bounden…to
conform my conscience to the Council of one realm against the General Council of Christendom. For of the foresaid holy bishops I have…above
one hundred; and for one Council or Parliament…I have all the Councils made these thousand
years. And for this one kingdom, I have all other
Christian realms”.When Mary (daughter of Henry and Catherine of Aragon) became Queen in 1553,
she married Philip II of Spain and sought to return England to Roman Catholicism. Elton has written that “In the place of the
Tudor secular temper, cool political sense, and firm identification with England and the
English, she put a passionate devotion to the catholic religion and to Rome, absence
of political guile, and pride in being Spanish”. Mary wanted to marry a Spaniard and Charles
V, Holy Roman Emperor, chose Philip II (also his son and heir). With this marriage, England would become a
Habsburg dominion and it did for a short time (arranged marriages such as these in the sixteenth
century had built up the Habsburg empire). England “played barely the part of a pawn”
in the diplomatic battle between the great European powers (France opposed the match)
and the marriage was widely unpopular in England, even with Mary’s own supporters such as Stephen
Gardiner, who opposed reducing England to “a Spanish colony”. Ian Archer has argued that “the possibility
that England might become another Habsburg milch cow was very real”. A courtier, Sir Thomas Wyatt, headed a rebellion
to try to stop the marriage, motivated by a “nationalist resentment at the proposed
foreign king”. Supporters of the insurgency urged Londoners
to join to stop the English becoming “slaves and vilaynes”, which was met with the response
that “we are Englishmen”. The uprising was defeated, and Wyatt at his
trial justified his actions by saying: “Myne hole intent and styrre was agaynst the comyng
in of strangers and Spanyerds and to abolyshe theym out of this realme”. Mary vigorously persecuted Protestants, recorded
by John Foxe in his Book of Martyrs, which were unprecedented in English history and
resulted in an “undying hatred of the pope and of Roman Catholicism which became one
of the most marked characteristics of the English for some 350 years”.Elizabeth I (who
succeeded Mary in 1558) made a speech to Parliament on 5 November 1566, emphasising her Englishness: “Was I not born in this realm? Were my parents born in any foreign country? Is there any cause I should alienate myself
from being careful over this country? Is not my kingdom here?” The excommunication of Elizabeth by Pope Pius
V’s papal bull (Regnans in Excelsis) of 1570; the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre of 1572;
the publication of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs; the Spanish Armada of 1588; and the Gunpowder
Plot of 1605 all contributed to an English nationalism which was “thoroughly militant
and Protestant”. An example of this nationalism can be seen
in Lord Chancellor Sir Christopher Hatton’s opening speech to Parliament in 1589 in the
aftermath of the defeat of the Armada. It has been described as “an appeal designed
to rouse both patriotic and ideological responses”. It was fiercely anti-Catholic (the Pope was
a “wolfish bloodsucker”), execrated Englishmen who turned against their native country, and
appealed for England’s defence: “Shall we now suffer ourselves with all dishonour to
be conquered? England hath been accounted hitherto the most
renowned kingdom for valour and manhood in all Christendom, and shall we now lose our
old reputation?”. In 1591 a John Phillips published A Commemoration
on the life and death of the right Honourable, Sir Christopher Hatton…, which included
the lines: You noble peeres, my native Countrimen,
I need not shew to you my bloud nor birth …
Was not his hart bent for his Countries weale? …
Take courage then, maintaine your Countries right, …
To straungers Yoakes, your neckes doe never bow. …
Our gratious Queene, of curtesie the flowre, Faire Englands Gem: of lasting blisse and
joye: … Sir Walter Raleigh, in his A Discourse of
War, wrote that “if our King Edward III. had prospered in his French Wars, and peopled
with English the Towns which he won, as he began at Calais, driving out the French; the
Kings (as his Successors) holding the same Course, would by this Time have filled all
France with our Nation, without any notable emptying of this Island”. Hastings has claimed that this usage of the
word “nation” (used by Dr. Johnson in his Dictionary) is the same as the modern definition.Strong
support exists among historians and students of nations and nationalism for the idea that
England became a nation in or no later than the Tudor period. Liah Greenfeld argues that England was “the
first nation in the world”. Others, including Patrick Collinson and Diana
Muir Appelbaum argue strongly for Tudor-era English nationhood.Others including Krishan
Kumar, argue that nations arose only in the modern period and that England cannot be described
as a nation until the late nineteenth century.===Stuart===
The idea of the Norman yoke became increasingly popular amongst English radicals in the seventeenth
century. They believed that Anglo-Saxon England was
a land of liberty but that this liberty was extinguished by the Norman conquest and the
imposition of feudalism.John Milton, writing in the 1640s, used nationalist rhetoric: “Lords
and Commons of England, consider what nation it is whereoff ye are” and on another occasion:
“Methinks I see in my mind a noble and puissant nation raising herself like a strong man after
sleep”.It has also been demonstrated by projects such as the Locating the Hidden Diaspora by
Northumbria University that English communities in America and Canada had a clear sense of
English ethnicity especially in the 1800s and set up many societies and organisations
and celebrated English culture and traditions, such as the Sons of St George etc.In her widely
cited book, Britons: Forging the Nation 1707-1837, Linda Colley argues for the formation of an
English nation in the Stuart era.==Modern==
The English nationalist movement has its roots in a perception amongst many people in England
that they are primarily or exclusively English rather than British, which mirrors the view
in the other constituent countries. The perceived rise in English identity in
recent years, as evidenced by the increased display of the English flag (particularly
during international sporting competitions i.e. FIFA World Cup and UEFA European Championship),
is sometimes attributed in the media to the increased devolution of political power to
Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.One possible incentive for supporting the establishment
of self-governing English political institutions has been the West Lothian question: the constitutional
inconsistency whereby Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish MPs in the UK Parliament have
been able to cast votes on bills which will apply only to England while English MPs have
had fewer such rights in relation to Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish legislation, which
is in many cases handled by the devolved legislatures. This anomaly was addressed in 2015 using the
English votes for English laws procedures to ensure that legislation affecting only
England requires a majority vote of MPs representing English constituencies. Many contemporary English nationalist movements
are associated with support for right-of-centre economic and social policies, but nationalists
elsewhere in the UK tend towards a social democratic political stance, as evidenced
by the policies of the Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru. English nationalism is also often linked with
Euroscepticism.While there is in principle no conflict between the objectives of English,
Scottish, Welsh and Irish nationalism, there is an inherent incompatibility between many
forms of English nationalism and Cornish nationalism, since Cornwall is administratively an integral
part of England. Also, to the extent that English nationalism
advocates the political separation of England from the remainder of the UK, it is not compatible
with Scottish or Northern Irish Unionism.Brexit has been described as a symptom of English
nationalism.===Opinion polls===
A MORI opinion poll in 2006 commissioned by the Campaign for an English Parliament indicated
that support for the creation of an English Parliament with the same powers as the existing
Scottish Parliament had risen, with 41% of those questioned favouring such a move.In
the same month an ICM Omnibus poll commissioned by the Progressive Partnership (a Scottish
research organisation) showed that support for full English Independence had reached
31% of those questioned.In November 2006, another ICM poll, commissioned by the Sunday
Telegraph, showed that support for an English Parliament had reached 68% and support for
full English Independence had reached 48% of those questioned.A study conducted for
the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) in 2005 found that, in England, the majority
of ethnic minority participants born there identified primarily as being British, whereas
white English participants identified as being English first and British second.A YouGov
survey for the BBC in 2018 found young people are less likely to feel proud to be English
than older generations and the further someone lives from London, the more likely they are
to identify with a particular part of England.==Separatist organisations==
English Independence Party England First Party (political party de-registered
on 14 June 2012) English People’s Liberation Army (minor terrorist
bombing organisation)==List of English Parliament Groups within
(federal) United Kingdom==English Democrats
Campaign for an English Parliament==
See also==Pegida UK
English Defence League English national identity
St George’s Day in England Parliament of England and Devolved English
Parliament West Lothian question
Anglish – English linguistic purism Merry England – Nostalgic English romantic
nationalism==Notes

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