The Dissenters: Volume II: The Expansion of Evangelical Nonconformity

Hardcover | April 30, 1999

byMichael R. Watts

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The expansion of Evangelical Nonconformity was one of the most important developments in English and Welsh history in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. In eighty years the number of Nonconformist chapels increased ten-fold, and by 1851, nearly one person in five worshipped insuch chapels. For millions of people the gospel preached and the religion practised in these chapels determined their choice of marriage partners, conditioned the upbringing of their children, and moulded their family life. Religion pervaded education, shaped morals, controlled leisure, providedmusic and literature, motivated philanthropy and decided political loyalties.In this, the second of a projected three-volume history of Dissent, Michael Watts argues that while the Quakers constituted an increasingly wealthy but numerically declining community of businessmen, farmers, and retailers, and that in many towns the Unitarians formed a vibrant, progressive,intellectual elite, the appeal of Nonconformity was primarily to the poor, the ill-educated, and the unsophisticated. The working-class adherents of Evangelical Nonconformity vastly outnumbered those of political radicalism, trade unionism, or Chartism, and Dissent was a major factor in making asection of the working class respectable, thus contributing to the social harmony of the 1850s and 1860s.The history of late Georgian and Victorian England and Wales, argues Dr Watts, cannot be understood without a knowledge of Nonconformity.

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The expansion of Evangelical Nonconformity was one of the most important developments in English and Welsh history in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. In eighty years the number of Nonconformist chapels increased ten-fold, and by 1851, nearly one person in five worshipped insuch chapels. For millions of people the go...

Michael R. Watts is a Reader in Modern History at University of Nottingham.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:934 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 2.13 inPublished:April 30, 1999Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198229682

ISBN - 13:9780198229681

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`this book is by any standards a formidable scholarly achievement, distinguished by the lucidity of its writing and by the care with which its conclusions are set out ... Michael Watts has brought together his remarkable knowledge of Nonconformist print in the nineteenth century with apainstaking analysis of the available statistical data to produce a study which will help to alter the impression created by many historians who produced books in the 1970s and 1980s ... that evangelical Nonconformity appealed chiefly to the self-improving artisanry of the early industrialrevolution ... impressive study.'David Hempton, Queen's University, Belfast, The Historical Association 1997