National Identity in Great Britain and British North America, 1815-1851: The Role of Nineteenth-Century Periodicals

By Hawkins, Richard A. | British Journal of Canadian Studies, July 1, 2012 | Go to article overview
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National Identity in Great Britain and British North America, 1815-1851: The Role of Nineteenth-Century Periodicals


Hawkins, Richard A., British Journal of Canadian Studies


Linda E. Connors and Mary Lu MacDonald, National Identity in Great Britain and British North America, 1815-1851: The Role of Nineteenth-Century Periodicals (Farnham: Ashgate, 2011), 242 pp. Cased. £55. ISBN 978-1-4094-2770-4.

In this book Linda E. Connors and Mary Lu MacDonald explore national identity in Great Britain and British North America from the end of the Napoleonic Wars to the Great Exhibition of 1851 using a representative sample of periodicals published in this period. They use the periodicals to explore their identity messages within the context of several themes: political and economic life, religion, women and children, scientific and technical progress and the competing national identities of United Kingdom's Celtic periphery together with the emerging 'Canadian' colonial identity of British North America.

One of the components of the developing national identity in this period was the participation by periodicals in an attempt to produce a shared history from the differing histories of the nations of the British Isles. Although it was part of the British Empire, the 'shared past' of British and Canadian national identity was not yet officially established and often subject to dispute. The periodicals on both sides of the Atlantic sought to use the concept of a shared history to create a sense of pride in the many achievements of the British Empire in this period. The periodicals made use of the concept of the 'Other' to help define national identity, in the case of Britain, 'France', and British North America, 'the United States'. In Britain Connors and MacDonald show that Roman Catholics and Jews were regarded by many of the periodicals as secondary 'Others'.

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