Providence and Empire : Religion, Politics and Society in the United Kingdom, 1815-1914 book cover
1st Edition

Providence and Empire
Religion, Politics and Society in the United Kingdom, 1815-1914

ISBN 9780582299603
Published January 21, 2008 by Routledge
508 Pages

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Book Description

The 19th century was, to a large extent, the ‘British century’. Great Britain was the great world power and its institutions, beliefs and values had an immense impact on the world far beyond its formal empire. 

Providence and Empire argues that knowledge of the religious thought of the time is crucial in understanding the British imperial story. The churches of the United Kingdom were the greatest suppliers of missionaries to the world, and there was a widespread belief that Britain had a divine mission to spread Christianity and civilisation, to eradicate slavery, and to help usher in the millennium; the Empire had a providential purpose in the world. 

This is the first connected account of the interactions of religion, politics and society in England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales between 1815 and 1914. Providence and Empire is essential reading for any student who wishes to gain an insight into the social, political and cultural life of this period.


Table of Contents

Introduction 1. Evangelicalism, Empire and Protestant State, 1815-1829 2. The Waning of the Church-State Connection, 1829-1845 3. Commerce, Christianity and Civilisation, 1840-1863 4. Revivalism, Ritualism and Authority, 1859-1876 5. Overseas Crusades and the New Christian Social Conscience, 1875-1896 6. Religious Diversity, Identities and Conflicts, 1896-1914

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Stewart Brown


“This is a splendid account… written in superbly clear prose by a master of the subject, this book provides a unique interpretation of "vital religion" and its changing relation to State and society in the period when Britain was the world's richest and greatest power.” Thomas William Heyck. Professor of History Emeritus, Northwestern University    

“Stewart J. Brown’s lucid account will be invaluable for those seeking to understand either society at large in the nineteenth century or the subsequent trajectory of religion in the British Isles.” Professor David Bebbington, University of Stirling

"... A well-researched and richly evocative book, breaking new ground by providing a broad United Kingdom and imperial perspective." Prof John Wolffe, The Open University