‘Peaceably If We May, Forcibly If We Must’: Ball among the Chartists
Spectres of John Ball - The Peasants' Revolt in English Political History, 1381-2020 - James Crossley
James Crossley [+]
St Mary's University, London
James Crossley is Research Professor in Bible, Society, and Politics at MF Norwegian School of Theology, Religion, and Society, Academic Director of the Centre for the Critical Study of Apocalyptic and Millenarian Movements (CenSAMM), and Professor of Bible and Society at St Mary's University, Twickenham, London. He is author of numerous books and articles on Christian Origins, reception history of the Bible, and English politics and religion, reception history of the Bible, including Cults, Martyrs and Good Samaritans: Religion in Contemporary English Political Discourse (Pluto, 2018). The website John Ball, English Legend provides images and resources discussed in Spectres of John Ball.
This chapter looks at how Ball (often Southey’s) and the rebels of 1381 were a point of reference in Chartist discourse and propaganda in the mid-nineteenth century. This also includes a discussion of the development of an English identity grounded in politics, economic behaviour, culture, etc., rather than a biologically racialised Victorian English identity.