Prayer, Providence and Empire
Special Worship in the British World, 1783-1919
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Publisher: Manchester University Press
Number of Pages: 296
Width: 15.6 cm
Height: 23.4 cm
European settlers in Canada, Australia and South Africa said they were building ‘better Britains’ overseas. But their new societies were frequently threatened by devastating wars, rebellions, epidemics and natural disasters. It is striking that settlers turned to old traditions of collective prayer and worship to make sense of these calamities. At times of trauma, colonial governments set aside whole days for prayer so that entire populations could join together to implore God’s intervention, assistance or guidance. And at moments of celebration, such as the coming of peace, everyone in the empire might participate in synchronized acts of thanksgiving. Prayer, providence and empire asks why occasions with origins in the sixteenth century became numerous in the democratic, pluralistic and secularised conditions of the ‘British world’.