"The Pioneers of the Great Army of Democrats": The Mythology and Popular History of the British Labour Party, 1890-1931

TAYLOR, Antony (2017). "The Pioneers of the Great Army of Democrats": The Mythology and Popular History of the British Labour Party, 1890-1931. Historical Research, 91.

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Abstract

Recent studies have highlighted the importance of memory, the past and a popular interpretation of history to the identity of political parties. This article takes the Labour party as an example of this tradition and analyses the ways in which its leaders, adherents and rank and file members mythologised the story of its traditions and forebears at the time of its foundation and subsequently. By analysing the periods of history, the individuals and the movements selected for this process, this article seeks to locate the popular history of the party in the currents of the radical and reform past that comprised the broader British radical tradition from the mid-nineteenth century onwards. Assessing the affinities, precedents, and precursors that paved the way for labourism, this article demonstrates the political strands that fed through into the labour platform, and considers the ways in which an amateur understanding of the past enabled the generation that built the labour party to undertake a selective and contentious appropriation of past events. In the process, this article considers the major individuals and phases of the national past that became integral to this process and the means whereby past and unrelated traditions were appended to the history of the Labour party itself.

Item Type: Article
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Humanities Research Centre
Departments: Development and Society > Humanities
Depositing User: Tony Taylor
Date Deposited: 23 Nov 2017 10:14
Last Modified: 23 Nov 2017 10:23
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/17408

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