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How Dangerous, The Protestant Stranger? Huguenots And The Formation Of British Identity C.1685–1715

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Chapter Summary

The Huguenots, as French Calvinists, embodied the very paradox at the heart of the developing British national identity. The possibilities for a 'British' identity, made more urgent by the union of the Scots and English crowns in 1707 and the settlement/ pacification of Ireland following the Revolution of 1688, were not unrelated to the larger war against Louis XIV's universal monarchy. Because of their history of owing their liberties to protection by the French monarch, Huguenots had often emphasized their commitment to royal power. The monarchs of England, too, were extremely supportive of the 'protestant strangers'. The support was not only political, but economic. One of the most prolific of Huguenot political writers, Abel Boyer's political economic publications placed him firmly in the camp of supporting the Whig party, the Bank of England, an expansive British identity and wars to promote international trade.

Keywords: British identity; French Calvinists; French monarch; Huguenots; protestant strangers



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