By popular liberalism, I mean a political and cultural mass phenomenon characterized by six main elements:

Support for a liberal economy (in England, mainly free trade; in south Germany, a moderate support for free trade).

Political populism expressed in an encouragement of freedom and liberty (particularly constitutional liberty), egalitarianism (in the form of anti-elitist, anti-Junkerish sentiments) and republicanism (in the form of the desire for the common good and the preservation of the community).

A religious identity based on non-conformity, anti-clericalism (in south Germany) and anti-Anglicanism (in England).

Advocacy of a nationalist-imperialist foreign policy.

The view that politics was underpinned by the notion of a “community” (Gemeinschaft) or a “people”, rather than a class or the state.

Disestablishmentarianism. 1

In short, I would like to put forward some German–English comparisons (in this case relating to one region in Germany) about the form that popular liberalism took in these two different contexts. First, in Germany, as in mid nineteenth-century England, all these six elements found expression in middle-class 10(bourgeois) liberal extra-parliamentary actions, pressure-groups and “faddist” groups. 2 Secondly, and especially in England, popular liberalism was self-generating and self-sustaining. It was a union of many ad-hoc groups: a union always potentially explosive, always gaining supporters as well as losing them. Thirdly, in both places popular liberalism was essentially provincial and was the delayed outcome of industrial and religious changes earlier in the nineteenth century and the product of a new kind of mass politics resulting from these changes. 3 Fourthly, popular liberalism can be viewed in England and Germany, in the mid nineteenth century above all, as an exceptional development of class politics. Working-class and middle-class interests fused within the context of popular liberalism.