Patriotism, Classical Republicanism, and the Volunteers, 1780-1782

Stephen Small

in Political Thought in Ireland 1776-1798

Published in print November 2002 | ISBN: 9780199257799
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191717833 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Historical Monographs

Patriotism, Classical Republicanism, and the Volunteers, 1780-1782

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Flushed with the success of the free trade agitation, many Irish patriots turned their attentions to legislative independence between 1780 and 1782. This chapter analyses the nature of their thought in these years, examining the role of classical republicanism in patriot rhetoric and showing how a political language common to radicals, patriots, and opposition Whigs across the English-speaking world was especially resonant in Ireland. Particular attention is paid to the use of classical republicanism in the construction of the Volunteers as civic heroes. Other key classical republican themes are also analysed, including vigilance, fear of standing armies beyond parliamentary control, and historical models of cyclical decay. The fusion of classical and commercial arguments in patriot thought is discussed, along with the critiques of the Volunteers that began to emerge from a conservative patriot perspective.

Keywords: Ireland; patriotism; classical republicanism; Volunteers; radicalism; civic virtue; political languages; cyclical decay; vigilance

Chapter.  13524 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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