John Bull

John Bull

Update: 2022-07-284
Share

Description

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the origin of this personification of the English everyman and his development as both British and Britain in the following centuries. He first appeared along with Lewis Baboon (French) and Nicholas Frog (Dutch) in 1712 in a pamphlet that satirised the funding of the War of the Spanish Succession. The author was John Arbuthnot (1667-1735), a Scottish doctor and satirist who was part of the circle of Swift and Pope, and his John Bull was the English voter, overwhelmed by taxes that went not so much into the war itself but into the pockets of its financiers. For the next two centuries, Arbuthnot’s John Bull was a gift for cartoonists and satirists, especially when they wanted to ridicule British governments for taking advantage of the people’s patriotism.

The image above is by William Charles, a Scottish engraver who emigrated to the United States, and dates from 1814 during the Anglo-American War of 1812.

With

Judith Hawley
Professor of 18th Century Literature at Royal Holloway, University of London

Miles Taylor
Professor of British History and Society at Humboldt, University of Berlin

And

Mark Knights
Professor of History at the University of Warwick

Producer: Simon Tillotson
Comments 
In Channel
John Bull

John Bull

2022-07-2854:29

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat

2022-07-2149:49

Dylan Thomas

Dylan Thomas

2022-07-1450:26

The Death of Stars

The Death of Stars

2022-07-0758:42

Comenius

Comenius

2022-06-1657:16

Tang Era Poetry

Tang Era Poetry

2022-06-0946:59

Olympe de Gouges

Olympe de Gouges

2022-05-1949:31

Homo erectus

Homo erectus

2022-05-1251:31

Polidori's The Vampyre

Polidori's The Vampyre

2022-05-0551:37

The Sistine Chapel

The Sistine Chapel

2022-04-2856:11

Antigone

Antigone

2022-04-2154:52

Charisma

Charisma

2022-04-1453:18

Seismology

Seismology

2022-04-0750:06

loading
Download from Google Play
Download from App Store
00:00
00:00
x

0.5x

0.8x

1.0x

1.25x

1.5x

2.0x

3.0x

Sleep Timer

Off

End of Episode

5 Minutes

10 Minutes

15 Minutes

30 Minutes

45 Minutes

60 Minutes

120 Minutes

John Bull

John Bull

BBC Radio 4