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By Rowan Strong

Among 1700 and 1850 the Church of britain used to be the one of the strongest and influential non secular, social, and political forces in Britain. This was once additionally a momentous time for the British Empire, in which it constructed after which misplaced the North American colonies, prolonged into India, and settled the colonies of Australia and New Zealand. Public figuring out of this increasing empire was once influentially created and promulgated by way of the Church of britain as a result of its missionary engagement with those colonies, and its function in delivering church buildings for British settlers. Rowan robust examines how that Anglican Christian figuring out of the British Empire formed the identities either one of the folks dwelling in British colonies in North the United States, Bengal, Australia, and New Zealand in this interval - together with colonists, indigenous peoples, and Negro slaves - and of the English in Britain.

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I will argue that it was the SPG that began, for Anglicans, a sustained and conscious construction of empire. In the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, as the principal Anglican body focused on the empire through its concern for missions, the SPG was able to unite Anglicans in England in contributing to this construction, because for the Wrst time in the history of the Church of England there was a corporate body focused on the empire. In doing so, Anglican clerical leaders of various theological and political hues, and their missionary clergy, developed a number of themes, some 70 Clark, Language of Liberty, 173.

23 Jack Greene has questioned the alliance between religion and commerce in the construction of British identity made by Linda Colley. He believes that the predominant opinion among Britons at home and in the colonies was that liberty was basic and this, rather than Protestantism, boosted commerce, and not the other way around, as Colley maintains. 24 This reduction of a religious dimension to English–British imperial expansion has been underlined recently in the work of David Armitage, who maintains that there is nothing particularly Protestant in the origins of British imperial ideology.

Second, nineteenth-century Britain was believed to oVer an outstanding model of a Christian culture and society. Third, Evangelicals had an implicit faith in human progress, from primitive societies to western culture. And fourth, civilizing the heathen actually worked. 49 Stanley also sought to rebut some of the criticisms of missions as cultural imperialists. It was not possible for them to oVer a ‘culture-free gospel’, and nor were indigenous cultures in a state of static perfection prior to the encounter with missionaries.

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