Providence and EmpireReligion, Politics and Society in Britain and Ireland, 1815-1914
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For most of the nineteenth century, the United Kingdom was the great world power. The industrial revolution brought it unprecedented wealth, and it possessed the largest empire the world had ever seen.
During the nineteenth-century the UK was also highly religious. The evangelical revival had exercised a profound social influence, the churches were powerful institutions, the overwhelming majority of the population were Christian, and the United Kingdom was the main promoter of Protestant overseas missions.
This book explores the religious beliefs and practices among the peoples of the UK during the height of its world influence, and considers the relationship of religion to the profound political and social changes associated with industrialisation, imperialism and the growth of democracy.
It explores the tensions surrounding the state establishment of religion, the role of religion in shaping national and communal identities in Ireland, and the religious controversies emerging from developments in natural science and biblical criticism.
The book gives particular attention to notions of a providential ordering of the world, including the widespread belief that the UK had a divine mission to spread the benefits of Christianity, free trade and civilisation to the wider world, and that its empire existed for a higher purpose.
Series Editor's Preface
- Evangelicalism, Empire and Protestant State, 1815-1829
- The Waning of the Church-State Connection, 1829-1845
- Commerce, Christianity and Civilisation, 1840-1863
- Revivalism, Ritualism and Authority, 1859-1876
- Overseas Crusades and the New Christian Social Conscience, 1875-1896
- Religious Diversity, Identities and Conflicts, 1896-1914
Stewart J. Brown has been Professor of Ecclesiastical History at the University of Edinburgh since 1988. From 2000-2004 he was Dean of the Faculty of Divinity at the University of Edinburgh
He has acted as co-editor of the Scottish Historical Review from 1993 to 1999 and is now Honorary President of the Scottish Church History Society, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.
He is has written seven books and authored over forty articles for various journals.