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Historical Development of Britain - Essay Example

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Historical Development of Britain

Raymond Williams, quoted in Society and Economy in Modern Britain, used to say that "culture is one of the most difficult words in the English language, partly because it has a history of shifting meanings, and partly because the word is now used to cover important concepts, in several distinct disciplines." (Brown, 430) According to the same source, two types of cultures are identifiable - the high or minority taste culture represented by certain kinds of music, literature, language and art (this type of culture is associated with the elite) and the popular or mass culture.
Talking about the history of English popular culture, Richard Brown asserts the fact that it was neither traditional nor the culture of peasant societies. (Brown, 433) It depended on the region where it was developed and on religious influences. And the main feature was that the English popular culture was noticeably different from that of Europe. It was "more commercial, more individualistic, less corporate and more secular." (434)
The 18th century brought about a gradual change in point of culture, a change that was manifest in two directions, affecting both popular and high culture. And it was under the religious influence that this happened. ...
In Scotland, this was an age where culture developed in all its fields: literature, architecture, philosophy and science. The universities became more innovative in point of curriculum and teaching and all these contributed to the revival.
"The identity of the English nation during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries fits neatly into neither of the main categories of classification identified by political scientists, being neither indisputably ethnic nor exclusively civic-territorial." (Kidd, 75) The English nation was characterized by a rich ethnic diversity. Although the central identity was Anglo-Saxonism, Celtic, Gothic and even Norman identity gathered in composing Britain's national identity. The eighteenth century Britain doesn't appear, yet, as having the sense of a multicultural nation. It's what Collin Kidd proves in his book by presenting the attitude of the radical Saxonist John Hare, who supported the idea of ethnic purity. The diversity in point of ethnicity became even the source of questions connected to the history of the English Constitution.
During the eighteenth century the Saxon identity became more prominent as the ethnic core. It was also considered that English principles of liberty were of Anglo-Saxon provenance. Historians and researchers have studied this problem but opinions remained divided. The Anglo-Saxon is also usually one of the terms of the antitheses "Celt-Saxon". In Kidd's opinion "the opposition of the pragmatic, freedom loving Teuton and the mystical, sentimental, but improvident Celt" was connected to a conception of the Celt that "took shape gradually, beginning with the Ossianic vogue of the late ...Show more

Summary

The historical development of Britain during the 18th century and the first half of the 19th century is connected to two political events that took place in 1707, the Act of Union that meant the abolition of the Scottish Parliament and the adding of 45 new members to the English Commons, and the 1800 Act of union, which meant the absorption of the Kingdom of Ireland within the Kingdom of Great Britain…
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