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Religion and Politics in Modern Britain

Hall, C; (2003) Religion and Politics in Modern Britain. The Historical Journal , 46 (2) 463 - 470. 10.1017/S0018246X03003029. Green open access

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The appearance of J. R. Oldfield's study, Popular politics and British anti-slavery, first published by Manchester University Press in 1995, now in paperback and therefore available for a student market, is much to be welcomed. The book is already well established in its field. As James Walvin writes in his preface, ‘Oldfield's research serves to clinch a simple but critical issue, namely that in the attack on the slave trade, popular revulsion was crucial’ (p. vi). Building on the work of earlier scholars, notably Seymour Drescher, Hugh Honour and Clare Midgley, Oldfield has demonstrated the ways in which the abolition movement turned to mobilizing public opinion after 1787 against the slave trade. At the centre of his investigation are the petition campaigns of 1788 and 1792. In analysing anti-slavery sentiment he successfully brings together approaches which focus on the eighteenth century as a period of expansion in commercial society and popular forms of politics with the agenda of historians of the slave trade and slavery. The abolition movement, he argues, provided the prototype for modern reforming organizations. It was peopled by practical middle-class men who understood the importance of the expansion of the market and consumer choice. It succeeded in capturing the imagination of those, predominantly middle-class men and women, who were increasingly interested in engaging in forms of public debate and who had the resources, both in terms of time and money, to do so. His book, he argues, is a piece of ‘thick description’ which offers ‘fresh insights into the increasingly powerful role of the middle classes in influencing Parliamentary politics from outside the confines of Westminster’

Type: Article
Title: Religion and Politics in Modern Britain
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1017/S0018246X03003029
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0018246X03003029
Language: English
Additional information: © 2003 Cambridge University Press
Keywords: BRITAIN, Politics, Religion
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of History
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/30338
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