He was created by Dr John Arbuthnot in 1712, in his pamphlet Law is a Bottomless Pit. William Hogarth and other British writers went on to make Bull a heroic archetype of the Englishman. Later, the image was disseminated overseas by various illustrators and writers.
As a literary figure, John Bull is well-intentioned, frustrated, and full of common sense. He is definitively a yeoman, with no authority or patriarchal power.