Perhaps the most frequent reference to politics in aesthetic debate through the earlier decades of the century occured in the appropriation of models – either of particular artists, or genres, or even entire cultures – through claims for political identity. The “progress” theme in its many forms extolled the bonds that linked free cultures, and the point was widely proclaimed in exuberant manifestoes and in theoretical elaborations on Tacitus, on Longinus and on Cicero. In the same vein, those appeals for artistic change and experiment which burgeoned at mid-century could derive emphasis and even urgency through the promotion of new forms of political identity and new dimensions in the very idea of liberty, usually to the disparagement of older aesthetic prejudice; Greece might be promoted as a sounder model than Augustan Rome, on political grounds, and the Gothic model be proposed as even more appropriate than the Greek, in a continuing investigation of the true artistic significance of British liberty, and the proper historical analogues of the British constitution.