This text is the analysis of an extract from the book On Patriotism, written between 1730 and 1754 by John Bolingbroke. Bolingbroke was a politician and thinker: he participated to the political life in Britain and was particularly MP in the Tories' party, Secretary of State and Minister of Foreign Affairs. In this text, he presents his opinion about the excellence of the English institutions. The text is parted into 5 different points: "Impossibility of Universal Empire", "A dissertation on parties", "On the spirit of Patriotism", "The idea of a Patriot King", "A national religion". We can already see through those titles that the main objective of this text is to talk about patriotism and national identity.
[...] To carry on unity, Bolingbroke suggests to put at the head of the country a Patriot King. This Patriot King presents particular features: he is wise: “wise and good prince”; he has both a role of leader and protector: we can see it through the metaphor of the body, where he is the and the people the members”, and the metaphor of the father when the nation is compared as a “patriarchal family”. He is the gatherer who carries on unity: he is centre of [the] union”, and more than that he has to blend in the nation to make only one body: wealth of the nation he will most justly esteem to be his wealth, the power his power”. [...]
[...] To justify that, he mentions the power of the other European nations: confirmed rivalry of the Dutch”, most contemptible maritime power in Europe, that of Spain”, growing rivalry of France”, difference that arises ( ) between the true interest of our country and that of some of all our neighbors on the Continent”. In face of those potential dangers, the notion of security is important: indeed, Bolingbroke insists on this when he employs the words and “private security”. The (almost) usual allusion to the weakness of France in comparison with England that can be found in the English texts of this epoch is not missing: “France falls under great disadvantages in trade and commerce by the nature of her government”; this is an opportunity for him to blame absolute power which France is systematically associated with. [...]
[...] Indeed, Bolingbroke is in favor of common interest, and animated by one common spirit”. Consensus is a prevailing condition to build the British nation. For that, it is essential to “subdue all parties”; this remark is a reference to the quarrels between the Whigs and the Tories that have recently emerged in Parliament; although he himself was a member of the Tories, he seems to be in favor of a nation with only one party, the one of the people. [...]
[...] To Bolingbroke, this Patriot King has already existed under the features of Elizabeth I. She is the one who, in the second half of the 16th century, succeeded in creating unity and dissolving the factions: united the great body of the people”, inflamed them with one national spirit”, and Bolingbroke calls her “that glorious princess”. Objectively, Elizabeth created unity but excluding those who did not want to abide by the Church of England; her reign was difficult for Catholics. We can deduce, as we are going to see now, that Bolingbroke is in favor of the Church of England and this is one characteristic of the Tories as well, to which Bolingbroke belonged. [...]
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