We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Research & business

View Profile

Publication details for Dr David Craig

Craig, David (2012). The origins of ‘liberalism’ in Britain: the case of The Liberal. Historical Research 85(229): 469-487.

Author(s) from Durham


This article examines the public reception of the periodical The Liberal to establish how the language of ‘liberalism’ began to develop in Britain in the eighteen-twenties. It shows that Hunt, Byron and Shelley had difficulty establishing a claim to this terminology partly because the conventional meanings of the word ‘liberality’– as in generosity and gentlemanliness – could be turned against their contributions, and partly because of their existing reputations as subversive, irreligious Epicureans. As a result, The Liberal helped to establish a negative typology of ‘liberalism’ that quickly gathered force among reactionaries.