Evangelicals and British Public Life, 1770-1840
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Publisher: Boydell & Brewer Ltd
Number of Pages: 345
Width: 15.6 cm
Height: 23.4 cm
A compelling study of Anglican Evangelicalism in the Age of Wilberforce revealing its potency as a political machine whose reach extended into every area of the British establishment and its nascent Empire. SHORTLISTED for the EHS Book Prize 2020 The moralism that characterized the decades either side of 1800 - the so-called 'Age of William Wilberforce' - has long been regarded as having a massive impact on British culture. Yet the reasons why Wilberforce and his Evangelical contemporaries were so influential politically and in the wider public sphere have never been properly understood. Converting Britannia shows for thefirst time how and why religious reformism carried such weight. Evangelicalism, it argues, was not just an innovative social phenomenon, but also a political machine that exploited establishment strengths to replicate itself at home and internationally. The book maps networks that spanned the churches, universities, business, armed forces and officialdom, connecting London and the regions with Europe and the world, from business milieux in the Cityof London and elsewhere through the Royal Navy, the Colonial Office and East India and Sierra Leone companies. Revealing how religion drove debates about British history and identity in the first half of the nineteenth century, itthrows new light not just on the networks themselves, but on cheap print, mass-production and the public sphere: the interconnecting technologies that sustained religion in a rapidly modernizing age and projected it into new contexts abroad. GARETH ATKINS is a Bye-Fellow at Queens' College, University of Cambridge.
Atkins's analysis of networks in the Anglican Church, the banking and business world of the City of London, the colonies (in particular Sierra Leone and India), and the Royal Navy give the reader good insights into the influence of Evangelicals in Britain and abroad. . . . In drawing on primary and secondary sources, archival and manuscript collections, and unpublished theses, Atkins furthers the value of this scholarly and informative book. Recommended. * CHOICE * This is an extremely well-written and deeply researched book that is also a pleasure to read. . . . [T]his is an important book made moreover enjoyable through its energetic writing, comprehensive research and compelling organization. Definitely recommended reading! -- Emily J. Manktelow * Journal of British Studies * Gareth Atkins's excellent new volume . . . could not have come at a better time. While largely written as a scholarly monograph for historians of evangelicalism and of late-18th and early 19th-century Britain, this work will appeal to a broader readership by illuminating the character and complexity of a less well-known historical manifestation of this incredibly influential religious movement. -- Christopher Corbin * The Living Church * Atkins' work represents a reassessment of how evangelicalism was situated in the public life of the period. * Anglican and Episcopal History *