John Bull

   The name used to personify the English people and British imperialism. Although first used in the seventeenth century, it was John Arbuthnot, a Scottish writer and Queen Anne’s physician, who popularized it in his 1712 The History of John Bull, a political allegory advocating the end of the War of the Spanish Succession. John Bull was an honest, jolly, hot-tempered cloth merchant, embroiled in a lawsuit with his European neighbors.
   From the 1760s, John Bull began a long history in the visual media. The John Bull newspaper, a Tory organ, was established. By the mid-nineteenth century he was defined as a rotund, usually rural, shabby farmer or squire. John Tenniel’s drawings for Punch are the most recognizable version: a portly, ruddy-cheeked and sidewhiskered but dignified gentleman, with boots and a shabby hat, usually with a Union Jack waistcoat and a bulldog at heel.
   John Bull was in partisan terms neutral, as the Liberal Punch and the Tory Judy enlisted him with equal credibility. By 1900, John Bull had lost most of his everyman and apolitical character. In 1906, a journalist, swindler, and politician, Horatio Bottomley founded John Bull as a weekly journal. Bottomley’s John Bull dressed in a short top hat, riding gear, and crop, and savaged Herbert Asquith ’s Liberal government’s fiscal policies. Hereafter John Bull featured mostly on the Conservative side of politics.
   See also <>.
    Engel, Matthew. Tickle the Public: One Hundred Years of the Popular Press . London: V. Gollancz, 1996;
    Koss, Stephen E. The Rise and Fall of the Political Press in Britain . London: Hamish Hamilton, 1984.

Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • John Bull — John Bullish. John Bullishness. John Bullism. 1. England; the English people. 2. the typical Englishman. [1705 15; named after John Bull, chief character in Arbuthnot s allegory The History of John Bull (1712)] * * * ▪ English symbol       in… …   Universalium

  • JOHN BULL — Dans la littérature et la caricature anglaises, John Bull représente l’Anglais «typique»; on trouve pour la première fois le personnage dans La loi est un puits sans fond... (Law is a Bottomless Pit ..., 1712), l’une des cinq satires politiques… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • John Bull — Bull Bull, n. [OE. bule, bul, bole; akin to D. bul, G. bulle, Icel. boli, Lith. bullus, Lett. bollis, Russ. vol ; prob. fr. the root of AS. bellan, E. bellow.] 1. (Zo[ o]l.) The male of any species of cattle ({Bovid[ae]}); hence, the male of any… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • John Bull —   [ dʒɔn bʊl; englisch »Hans Stier«], Spitzname des englischen Volkes oder des typischen Engländers, ursprünglich die Verkörperung der Nation in einer Pamphletsammlung von J. Arbuthnot (1712, 1727 unter dem Titel »The history of John Bull«… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • John Bull — John′ Bull′ n. 1) England; the English people 2) the typical Englishman • Etymology: 1705–15; after John Bull, chief character in Arbuthnot s allegory The History of John Bull (1712) John′ Bull′ish, adj …   From formal English to slang

  • John Bull — John John (j[o^]n), n. [See {Johannes}.] A proper name of a man. [1913 Webster] {John apple}, a sort of apple ripe about St. John s Day. Same as {Apple john}. {John Bull}, an ideal personification of the typical characteristics of an Englishman,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • John Bull — ► NOUN ▪ a personification of England or the typical Englishman. ORIGIN from a character in John Arbuthnot s satire Law is a Bottomless Pit; or, the History of John Bull (1712) …   English terms dictionary

  • John Bull — n. [title character in John Arbuthnot s History of John Bull (1712)] personification of England or an Englishman …   English World dictionary

  • John Bull — (spr. Dschohn Bull), so v.w. Bull 1) …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • John Bull — 1 n. p. m. Expresión inglesa con que se designa al hombre corriente. 2 Se emplea para designar a *Inglaterra o al pueblo inglés. * * * VER Bull, John …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • John Bull — JOHN BULL: Quand on ne sait pas le nom d un Anglais, on l appelle John Bull …   Dictionnaire des idées reçues

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